|Windsor Hotel, ca. 1885|
The actual banquet shown below the "grub" featured the same type of lavish fare that was typically served at luxury hotels. In fact, the banquet was remarkably similar to the regular table d'hote dinner served at the Windsor only sixteen days earlier. Comparing the two menus below, both meals start with raw oysters (shipped in fresh by rail each day), followed by mock turtle soup, boiled leg of mutton, sweetbreads, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast turkey, and quail. The fishes are different—baked trout for the banquet versus baked flounder for the regular dinner, both served with Parisian potatoes. Although the table d'hote dinner menu offers a few additional choices like rabbit, chicken livers, and boned capon in aspic, the two meals are basically the same, down to the mince pie and lemon meringue pie for dessert.
The symbolic presence of "grub" on the menu at the society’s first banquet triggered nostalgic memories of the past. Judge Wilbur Stone, who spoke that evening about the “Pioneer Bar,” observed at a later reunion in 1888, “Perhaps (we) appreciated our hardships in those days better than we do our present luxuries. Will the choice coffee that will be served us tonight in our elegant banquet taste as good as that which we used to make at night by campfires in our toilsome march across the plains?”3
1. Campbell Gibson, Population of the 100 largest cities and urban places in the United States: 1790-1990, U.S. Census Bureau (June 1998). In 1860, the population of Denver was 4,749. By 1870, it was 4,759, the population of the city growing by only ten people during the decade. The population grew to 35,000 by 1880, a seven-fold increase.
2. Alice Polk Hill, Colorado Pioneers in Picture and Story, 1915.
3. New York Times, 27 November 1888.