Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Russian Revolution

St. Petersburg, Archangel & Vladivostok

One of the most intriguing aspects of ephemera is that it reminds us of long-forgotten events. A case in point is provided by three scarce menus from the time of the Russian Revolution. Interestingly, they were saved by people who found themselves on the losing side of the conflict—Russia’s ill-fated bourgeoisie; foreign intelligence officers;  and the United States Army sent to fight the “Red” Bolsheviks.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Butter Wars

New York City, 

When five members of a congressional subcommittee came to New York in April 1880 to inspect the new factory of the Commercial Manufacturing Company, the firm rolled out the red carpet, hosting a dinner at Delmonico’s in their honor.  Typical for a grand banquet of the Gilded Age, the menus for the occasion were printed on satin of various colors. What is unusual about the menu shown below is what it doesn’t say—golden blocks of margarine were placed on the table to accompany the meal. What is more, the low-cost butter substitute was even said to have been used to prepare these classic French dishes.