Pieces of History

During the Wakeup Tucson radio program (with Chris DeSimone) on Wednesday a woman named Roberta called in and talked about a collection of menus she had purchased at an estate sale awhile back. We talked a bit and then she kindly offered to give me the collection, minus a Sambo’s menu (she kept that one because Sambo’s was where she had met her husband.)
We met yesterday and had a great chat about the menus, restaurants and other topics we had in common. She’s an antique dealer of sorts and her specialty is vintage kitchen items. Anyone who knows me is familiar with my huge collection of vintage tins, bowls etc. so it was a nice time, albeit quite short.
Anyway, the menus she gave me are stunning. Many are from Tucson; others are from all over the United States.DSCN2148 Some are from Germany. A few casino menus are in the mix. We figure they are from the late 1980’s due to a notation in the one from The Solarium.DSCN2150DSCN2149
I’ve only begun to explore them but I have to say that even though they are not that old, these menus all tell a story. They reflect how we ate, what we ate and the cost of dining out thirty odd years ago. I am fascinated.DSCN2154
In these days of menus that change daily and chalkboard menus, I really appreciate the variety and artwork that went into producing these menus.DSCN2159
Few have explanations of ingredients that can be found on many modern menus. Many of them have wonderful artwork. There are blurbs explaining the attitudes toward service and such. Some are very elaborate. One in fact is leather bound, but the interior is hand typed. It is also one of the more expensively priced menus.DSCN2164
I know which ones are from Tucson (I wish I had them when I was writing ‘Lost Restaurants of Tucson’), but many of the others don’t say where they are, but with a little research, for example the area codes, I might be able to find out where they originated.
I have the feeling that this is the start of something big. No doubt, there will be more postings.DSCN2158DSCN2160DSCN2162DSCN2161
Thank you, Roberta for your generosity and kind thoughts.