A Culinary Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus

Yesterday I tugged a heavy box out of the closet and slid it across the floor to a spot large enough that would fit both the box and me. In the box were hundreds of photos taken generations ago that my family is lucky enough to still have. Some of the sweet faces are still with us, but many are not. I was searching for a particular Christmas photo from generations past, but quickly became enchanted with the scenes laid out before me on the floor. Perhaps it was all the black, white and gray…perhaps it was the still moment of life and history perfectly captured in each photo…perhaps it was the lack of technological devices in the hands of every subject…whatever it was that paused my quest for that particular photo also stirred my imagination as to how these precious people celebrated their Christmas holiday.

A Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus-photobox|classictasselsandmore.com

I wondered…how did they decorate their Christmas tree? Did they buy it in town or did they cut it down from the backyard? Did they deck their halls with one or one hundred holiday decor items? Did they read the Christmas story from the Bible to their children and grandchildren as we would? And what were the ladies in the kitchen preparing for their Christmas Day meals?

A Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus-baking|classictasselsandmore.com

And so, I logged onto my own technological device and down the rabbit hole I went in search of Christmas menus from days gone by. Thanks to the efforts of a few sentimental folk like myself, I found several vintage menus that were as enchanting as my old box of photos. Perhaps your Christmas menu for this year includes Creamed Olympia Oysters or the ever-popular Parker House Roll. Either way, I hope you’ll enjoy this glimpse of the past as much as I did.

A Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus-Paris1870|classictasselsandmore.com

A Christmas Day menu from a Parisian restaurant during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. Due to the siege of Paris at that time, no meat and fresh vegetables were available in the city, so the restaurant featured exotic animals from the Parisian zoo. Although a tad bit humorous, we hope you aren’t serving “the cat flanked by rats” tomorrow. This photo is in the public domain in its country of origin and also in the United States.

A Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus-whitestarline|classictasselsandmore.com

A 1900 Christmas Day menu straight from the Indian Ocean and the White Star Line, a prominent British shipping company most famous for the RMS Titanic. Leonard Bernstein would be proudThis photo appears courtesy of Aussie~mobs on Flickr and is made available under this Creative Commons license.

A Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus-suevic|classictasselsandmore.com

A 1911 Christmas Day menu from another White Star Line steamship, the S.S. Suevic, specifically built to service the Liverpool-Capetown-Sydney route. Wishing you the compliments of the season also, S.S. Suevic. This photo is in the public domain in its country of origin and also in the United States.

A Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus-sorrento|classictasselsandmore.com

A 1922 Christmas Day menu from the Hotel Sorrento, an historic hotel still flourishing in Seattle. Visit them and ask if the Creamed Olympia Oysters are still on the menu. This photo appears courtesy of Jeff Meyer on Flickr and is made available under this Creative Commons license.

A Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus-bcompany|classictasselsandmore.com

A 1938 Christmas Day menu from B Company, 3d US Infantry Regiment while stationed at Fort Snelling, MN. Yes to the fruit cake. No to the cigarettes. This photo appears courtesy of Old Guard Museum on Flickr and is made available under this Creative Commons license.

A Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus-pearlharbor|classictasselsandmore.com

Pearl Harbor’s Christmas in Hawaii 1941 booklet dinner menu. We still rememberThis photo appears courtesy of Navy Medicine on Flickr and is made available under public domain.

A Yummy Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus-korea|classictasselsandmore.com

A 1954 Christmas Day meal prepared for the Eighth United States Army in Korea. Here’s your recipe for the Parker House Rolls. This photo appears courtesy of USMC Archives on Flickr and is made available under this Creative Commons license.

A Yummy Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus-vietnam|classictasselsandmore.com

A 1965 Christmas Day meal prepared for the 3d Marine Division in Vietnam. This page includes a very moving message from four-star General Lewis Walt  (then Major General). We have transcribed a portion of his message below. This photo appears courtesy of USMC Archives on Flickr and is made available under this Creative Commons license.

Wishing you and yours a day filled with cherished memories as you prepare your Christmas menu. And all of us at Classic Tassels and More would like to extend our warmest holiday greetings to the men and women serving in our armed forces that are unable to come home this Christmas. As always, we are grateful for the sacrifices you make to protect our freedom. We echo General Walt’s sentiments below.

With lasting pride in all of you and with the warm affection of comrades in arms, I extend to you my very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Blessed New Year. May God, who gave to the world its greatest gift on that first Christmas, grant you his blessing throughout this Happy and Holy season.

-General Lewis Walt

 

One thought on “A Culinary Look Back in Time: Vintage Christmas Menus

  1. Pingback: 10 Christmas Tablescapes We Are Loving Right Now | Design Impressions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s