Many of our favorite holiday celebrations are centered around food. Even if our traditional meals vary, food and holidays go hand in hand. As part of these celebrations, restaurants and hotels often produced special menus for holiday meals. Compared to the daily menu, these holiday menus were elaborately designed and listed some of the finest foods that were being served at that time and place.
This online exhibit presents a selection of historical holiday menus from The Culinary Institute of America Menu Collection. Each menu reflects the way people celebrated holidays in the past. First, notice the designs of these menus, which often reflect the celebratory nature of the holiday. Then, look at the items on the menus and you will see a lot of traditional foods that are still associated with the holiday today. Some menus offer a special fixed price meal, while others offer an a la carte menu. Some list the evening's entertainment and some include drink lists. Most importantly, these menus encourage diners to eat, drink, and be merry.
We hope you enjoy this selection of holiday menus. As the year progresses, we will be adding more holidays and more menus, so be sure to check back often.
About the collection
The Culinary Institute of America's special collection of 30,000 menus includes menus from CIA restaurants, along with gifts from major menu collectors, including George Lang, Chapman S. Root, Vinnie Oakes, Roy Andries de Groot, and the Smiley family of Mohonk Mountain House. Assembled over decades, the collection illustrates the history of dining in America and abroad, with menus from all of the states and over 100 countries, as well as ships, railroads, and airlines.
The CIA menus are part of the CIA Archives and Special Collections, housed in the Conrad N. Hilton Library. Anyone interested in learning more about the collection or locating specific menus should contact Nicole Semenchuk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This online exhibit was created by The Culinary Institute of America's Archives and Special Collections in the Conrad N. Hilton Library. Special thanks to Jennifer Palmentiero, Hudson River Valley Heritage and Southeastern New York Library Resources Council for their assistance and support.