In putting together last week’s gallery ‘Tasting Menu: 1960s’, our curatorial team spent a pleasant few hours sifting through the New York Public Library’s extensive Buttolph collection of menus - which includes menus from as early as 1800 right up to 2008. It was a fascinating glimpse into changing culinary tastes and experiences. Notice the option for ‘Nurses and Children’ in this 1880s breakfast menu: 

The library’s collection was put together by a rather enigmatic and passionate lady by the name of Miss Frank E Buttolph: “Her principal method of acquisition was to write to every restaurant she could think of, soliciting menus. When letters failed, she often marched into a restaurant and pleaded her case in person…Three times between 1904 and 1909, The New York Times wrote about her and the collection, noting once that “she frankly avers that she does not care two pins for the food lists on her menus, but their historic interest means everything.” (NYPL)



This first Tasting Menu gallery focuses on the 1960s and includes menus from across the US: the News Center Restaurant in NYC’s Rockefeller Plaza - where the Chef’s Luncheon Special would set you back $1.65 - to the Red Onion in Aspen, Colorado -where members of the ‘fairer sex’ might enjoy a ‘Ladies Steak’. We noticed a lot of marinated herring and Chicken Cacciatore, and found this rather elaborate welcome from The New Orleans Hotel’s Rib Room. Enjoy!