HIST 840 – Food, Culture, and Power (Spring 2016) Some Historic Menus

Prof. Martha Carlin
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
copyright Martha Carlin 2016

There is an excellent collection of miscellaneous historic menus, cookery books, individual recipes, and other culinary history material at the Web site of the International Guild of Hospitality & Restaurant Managers . See also collections of nineteenth- and twentieth-century American menus at Historic Menus Online and UNLV Digital Collections (Menus: The Art of Dining).


I. Asia

Ashurnasirpal II, King of Assyria (Calah, Assyria): palace inauguration banquet (883 x 859 BC)

Franciscan brother William of Rubruck, emissary of King Louis IX of France: the food of the Mongols ( AD1253-55)

Sir Edwin Arnold: description of a Japanese dinner party (1890)

Helen Caddick, Travel Diaries (1889 – 1914): Description of a dinner at Dr. Wang’s (China?, 1909)
(Scroll down to extract for 19 Feb. 1909)

Kashmiri royal banquet, or Wazwan (20th cent.)

II. Africa

Ibn Battuta (b. Morocco 1304? d. 1368?), Rihla (Travels): Food in Somalia (January 1331, Mogadishu)
(Scroll down to extract by Ibn Battuta: “They cook banana before it is ripe”)

Olaudah Equiano: typical meals in Nigeria (c. 1750) (Scroll down to click on “An African Dinner”)

Richard Francis Burton: typical breakfast and dinner menus in West Africa (1850s)
(Scroll down to extract by Burton: “Most of the dishes are boiled” )

Richard Francis Burton: food of the Arabs of the Lake regions of Central Africa (late 1850s)
(Scroll down to extract by Burton: “Boko-Boko is the roast beef–the plat de resistance–of the Eastern and African Arab”)

Richard Francis Burton: the staple food of the poor in the Lake regions of Central Africa (late 1850s)
(Scroll down down to extract by Burton: “Such is ugali, or porridge, the staff of life in East Africa”)

Richard Francis Burton: Diet of the wealthy in the Lake regions of Central Africa (late 1850s)
(Scroll down to extract by Burton: “Meat is the diet most prized”)

Richard Francis Burton: dinner with traders from Zanzibar (late 1850s)
(Scroll down to extract by Burton: ” The plat de résistance was, as usual, the pillaw”)

Emily Ruete (born Sayyida, Princess of Zanzibar): meals at the sultan’s palace in Zanzibar (mid to later 19th cent.)
(Scroll down to “Dinner in Zanzibar”)

Alexander Bulatovich, diary of a journey in Ethiopia with the army of Menelik II: dinners (1897-8)
(See the Russian diarist’s entries for 27-28 December 1897, 11 Jan. 1898)

Ernest Hemingway: typical food of the Masai (East Africa, 1933)
(Scroll down to extract by Hemingway)

Sembene Ousmane: fast food in the market stalls of French West Africa (1970)
(Scroll down to this excerpt from Ousmane’s novel, God’s Bits of Wood: “The stalls of the women who sold foodstuffs”)

Richard Trench: dinner with nomads of the Malian Sahara (1974)
(Scroll down to this excerpt on “rice and cooked dried camel meat”)

III. Europe

Macrobius, Saturnalia Convivia (Rome): pontifical feast of Mucius Lentulus Niger (63 BC)

Roman recipes and menus (1st cent. BCE – 1st cent. CE)

Petronius Arbiter (c. AD 27-66), Satyricon: Trimalchio’s banquet
(A fictional meal.)

Two royal banquet menus (London and Westminster, England, c. 1390s)
(Menus for a feast given for Richard II by “Lord Spenser” (Thomas le Despenser, created earl of Gloucester 29 Sept. 1397), and for a feast at the king’s court.)

King Henry IV (Westminster, England): coronation banquet (13 Oct. 1399)

Menus for layfolk and clergy at the funeral of Nicholas Bubwith, bishop of Bath and Wells (England, 4 Dec. 1424)

John Stafford, Bishop of Bath and Wells (Wells, England): induction feast (Sept. 1425)

Supper menu for the feast of Holy Trinity (England, c. 1430)

John Stafford, Archbishop of Canterbury (Canterbury, England): installation feast (1443)
(Scroll down to Stafford’s menu.)

A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye (London, c.1545): sample dinner and supper menus
(Scroll down to the section headed: “Here after foloweth the order of meates how they must be served at the Table with their sauces for fleshe dayes at dynner.”)

A.W., A Book of Cookrye (London, 1591)
(Sample menus for dinners and suppers are given at the beginning of this early printed cookbook.)

Samuel Pepys (London), Diary: menu of a dinner at home (26 Jan. 1660)
(Scroll down to read Pepys’s diary entry for 26 Jan. 1660.)

Hannah Woolley, The Gentlewoman’s Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex (London, 1675)
(Scroll down to the end of the recipes to click on two chapters containing sample menus: “Section — A Bill of Fare of Suitable Meat for Every Month in the Year,” and “Section — Bills of Fare for Fasting Days or Lent.”)

James Lind, diet for British Navy scurvy patients (1747)

Workhouse diets (England, 18th-19th centuries) (Scroll down to the various documents)

Description of the Journey of Bible Christians from Cornwall to Quebec, 1846
(Scroll down to read about the provisions that this group packed for their sea journey)

Alexander Palace (Tsarskoye Selo, Russia): Luncheon on the Empress’s Name-Day (April 23, 1897)

Alexander Palace (Tsarskoye Selo, Russia): Luncheon for Grand Duchess Tatiana’s Birthday (29 May 1905)

RMS Titanic: menus for all classes (April 1912)

Belgian Restaurant, New York World’s Fair: luncheon menu (July 1939)

Nobel Prize annual banquet menus (Stockholm, Sweden: 1901-present)

IV. The Americas

Moctezuma II (early 16th cent.): royal meals (the Aztec king’s meals, as described by Bernal Diaz.)

Old Colony Club: Forefathers’ Day banquet menu (Plymouth, Massachusetts, 22 Dec. 1769)
(First annual commemoration of the Pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth in 1620.)

American Army: Standard ration for enlisted soldiers, as defined by Continental Congress (4 Nov. 1775) Scroll down to Appendix I for ration.

British Army: Standard weekly rations for soldiers during the American Revolutionary War (American Colonies, c. 1776-9) Several sets of rations are described in this article, including rations for invalid soldiers.

Elizabeth Le Breton Gunn, Journal and Letters: descriptions of meals (on board ship, Philadelphia-San Francisco, 1851)
(See, e.g., descriptions of meals on pp. 94, 98-99) and (Sonora, California, 1851-4) (see, e.g., descriptions of meals on pp. 140, 141.)

Dinner given by San Francisco firemen “to our brother firemen” of Stockton (San Francisco, California, 5 July 1856)

Louisville Hotel: Table d’hôte (23 Oct. 1857)

Mrs. S. L. Skilton’s Eating House: Bill of fare (Boston, Massachusetts, 1860)

Julia Johnson Fisher, Diary: description of daily meals and Christmas dinner (Camden County, Georgia, 1863-4)
(Scroll down to entries for 6 Jan. and 13 Jan. 1864. Other entries describe this Southern household’s fluctuating food supplies during the months of January-August 1864.)

Emma Florence LeConte, Diary: Description of a typical day’s meals (Columbia, South Carolina, 23 Jan. 1865)
(Breakfast and dinner for a Southern family, near the end of the Civil War. This entry is on page 11 of the text.)

Abraham Lincoln, second inaugural ball, dinner menu (Washington, D.C., 6 March 1865)
(Scroll down for photograph of the original menu, and click on it to enlarge it.)

Hardy’s Delmonico lunch (Boston, Massachusetts, 9 Dec.1868)

Knox and Co.’s Horticultural Dining Rooms: bill of fare (Boston, Massachusetts, Feb. 1869)
(See all 4 pages, and also the related public notice of 1 Jan. 1869 .)

Mary Snow Sinton, Diary: wedding dinner (Caroline, New York, Dec. 1880)
(The wedding is described under the entry for 6 Feb. 1881.)

Alice Cunningham Fletcher: Diary (Dakota Territory, 1881): descriptions of meals while camping with the Sioux
(Click on calendar for diary entries for September 16 (dinner), September 23 (supper), October 1 (dinner), October 13 (breakfast and dinner), October 24 (breakfast and supper).)

Dinner and breakfast menus for correspondents traveling to the Republican national convention (30-31 May 1884)
Meals provided by the B. & O. Telegraph company to the Washington correspondents travelling to the Republican national convention in Chicago. Dinner was at the Queen City Hotel in Cumberland, Maryland, and breakfast in the B. & O. dining car on the train.

Carrie Sayre, Travel journal, from Ohio to Kansas: supper (15 Sept. 1885)

Godey’s Lady’s Book: Menu for Christmas dinner (Dec. 1890) With recipes for each dish listed.

Plaza, New York: dinner menu (Nov. 1899)

Haan’s Restaurant (New York): bill of fare (Dec. 1899)

Child’s Lunch Rooms (New York): bill of fare (Jan. 1900)

The Cooper Lunch Counter (New York): menu (23 Jan. 1900)

Sherry’s, New York: Sunday luncheon menu (4 Feb. 1900)

Hotel Traymore (Atlantic City, New Jersey): breakfast menu (1900)

Hotel Knickerbocker (New York), Grill Room: supper menu (Dec. 1906)

Royal Café (Cleary Creek, Alaska): menu (1906) Scroll to bottom to click on all three pages of this menu.

Cecil Café (Fairbanks, Alaska): menu (1906) Scroll to bottom to click for both pages of this menu.

Miriam Florence Best: Diary (Mankato, Minnesota, 1911-13): descriptions of meals
(The diarist was attending the Mankato State Normal School, or teachers’ college. Click on “Diary entries, Part 2,” and scroll down to the entries for Friday, Feb. 21, 1913, and Tuesday, April 1, 1913.)

U.S.S. South Dakota (Mare Island, California): Thanksgiving menu, 1914 (click here for an image of the menu cover)

U.S.S. Prometheus (Mare Island, California): Thanksgiving menu, 1915 (click here for an image of the menu cover)

The Oriental Grill (714 K Street, Sacramento, California): menu (9 Nov. 1916)

Hochschild, Kohn and Company Tea Room, Baltimore, March 1921

Camp Harmony (Japanese-American internment camp, Puyallup, Washington): descriptions of daily meals (1942)

US Naval Base, Port Hueneme, California: Thanksgiving dinner menu (1944)

US Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba: Ship’s Service Restaurant menu (1946)

48th Assault Helicopter Company (Qui Nhon, Vietnam): Thanksgiving dinner menu (1965)
(Scroll down to Chapter Three to read the menu.)

US Presidential Inauguration Luncheon Menus (1981-2009)

V. Australia

Menu for a dinner held in the Sydney Town Hall, 21 August 1883
(From the papers of Sir Edmund Barton)

Menu for Hardwicke Society annual dinner, Holborn 1901
(From the papers of Sir Edmund Barton)

Menu for a dinner [given] to the South Ward Committee and Workers by F. Stroud, (Cheltenham, 1903)
(This appears to be a menu for a Christmas dinner. From the papers of Sir Edmund Barton.)