We have a really fabulous book for today’s Bookmarks post.
The book charts the history of menu design in America in the 19th & 20th centuries.
The menus featured inevitably incorporate the evolution & development of food…
…but they also draw in American and social history, politics, immigration, civil rights, prohibition, social taboos & norms for various eras - some of which can be quite an eye opener.
Fans of graphic design and typography will also be in heaven!
There’s a broad subject overview at the start of the book followed by further insightful captions on each page.
They add details for specific venues or menus - artists/designers, who owned/frequented an establishment, its popularity, dates, details about the food - chefs, new introductions, where items may have been sourced etc etc.
In some cases, there are accompanying photographs of the actual restaurant locations, buildings, interiors and the diners themselves.
The menus are the real stars of this book of course. There are nearly 400 pages crammed full of fabulous examples - both the stunning covers and their menu contents will give hours of pleasure.
We’ve included lots of images for this post, but even this is only a small proportion of those contained within the book.
Art Nouveau to Art Deco, Jazz age to Space age - it’s all here!
The menus are sourced from hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, diners, steamships, cruise ships, trains & planes.
We know one thing though - after browsing this book for an hour we were starving!
Some of the menus had up to a hundred items to choose from.
There are familiar dishes such as steaks & burgers (done in a myriad of different ways of course).
Others have choices that were new to us - ‘stewed terrapin with hominy’, ‘fried smelts with figaro sauce’, ‘calfs head en tortue’.
There are enjoyable aspects to take from all the menus - our favourites in terms of design & artwork are those dating from the 1930s and the 1950s. There’s a few in this book we’d love to add to our collection.
We started acquiring vintage menus some time ago. In fact, we’ve blogged about the subject before.
We love both the artwork and browsing the dishes on offer. They can be stored in a folder, but also look great framed - and as you can see from the wonderful examples in this book, the designs can be just stunning.
So we were sold even before opening a page, but if you are a newcomer to the subject, this book can be enjoyed as pure eye candy or will provide a fascinating insight into the history of a nation through its culinary culture.
Mouth-watering stuff - we can highly recommend it!
[Many thanks to Taschen for supplying this review copy]
Market Grown burlap shopping bags - small $7 | large $12
I happened across these burlap shopping bags while browsing Pinterest today (I’ve been doing a lot of that recently!). There’s SO much going for them - they’re useful, cheap, eco-friendly and charitable!
They were designed by Catalina Rozo & Melissa Clinard for Market Grown, an initiative that helps local farmers in Alachua County, Florida. I don’t think there’s much chance of any of the bags making the journey across to the UK, but Catalina & Melissa… if you’re listening! ;-)
Here’s a quick follow up to our recent blog post about vintage American road maps.
A few days after we bought them, we also picked up this lovely little Ladybird book.
It’s from the Flight series - this one being, “Flight Three - U.S.A - A Ladybird Book of Travel Adventure”.
This is a first edition, published in 1959.
Alison & John take a trip to the U.S.A where Dad sometimes goes on business trips.
They land in New York and spend a week there - then hire a car and take a a road trip.
As with most Ladybirds from this era, the illustrations are fabulous.
Other destinations in the series include Australia, Canada, Africa, India and The Holy Land.
If we ever manage to do an American road trip in a vintage camper van (or lovely, shiny Airstream!), we’ll have lots of vintage travel ephemera to accompany us… we suspect there might have been a few changes!
This collection of vintage maps was a fabulous recent buy.
We were quite excited when we saw them lurking at the bottom of a mixed box at auction…
…their bright colours and fab period illustrations calling out to us!
They’re all from the United States - most were produced by the American Automobile Association - and petrol (or gas if you’re from the US!) companies such as Esso & Enco.
Quite unusual for them to have ended up in a small northern town in England!
They were obviously picked up by a pair of adventurous travelers - also in the box were old tickets, menus, napkins, receipts, notes and other bits of ephemera - all picked up along their way.
We’ve really enjoyed sorting through them - artwork like this is good enough for framing.
Inside, the maps are clean & bright - untouched for 50 years or so. Full of handy hints and endless possibilities.
The thought of setting out in a convertible or camper van with a pile of these is very appealing indeed!