The Hungry Man Eats

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An Exciting Website With Old Menus!

I love food.


I also love the history of food.


I was puttering around on the web recently when I stumbled across this site!


It was a fascinating article that I wish I had put the time and effort into writing, but what made me super excited was this link!!


What is this site and why am I so excited? It is the New York Public Library’s website that contains scans and transcriptions of restaurant menus dating from the 1850’s all the way up to the present! At the time of this writing (December 11, 2016) the site contains 17,545 menus with 1,332,276 different dishes transcribed off of those menus! There are 422,169 unique dishes that you can sort by date, name, popularity and obscurity.


Let’s do a test!


I am going to use the key word “scallops” let’s see what we find:


The word “scallops” appears on 1,840 different menus and is included in 3,964 different dishes. You can sort from earliest to latest date and it appears that the earliest mention of “scallops” is on the menu for the Manhattan Hotel dated April 18, 1900 appearing as “Scallops 0.35-0.6” This info is provided on a list on the right side of the page, or you can click on the scan of the menu page and peruse it yourself. Further research by looking at the menu scan indicates that the lower price (in cents) is a half portion for single service only. In this instance there is no detail as to how those scallops are prepared (but I am sure the waiter would have been more than happy to tell you). Unfortunately it appears that the menu search only goes from oldest to newest, so I can’t tell anything about the most recent appearance of “scallops” and I am not going to click to show more results only 16 menus at a time to get to entry number 1840.


You also can dive deep with the names of dishes, I mentioned above that the word “scallops” was used in the listings for 3,964 dishes. You can click on one of the dish names and it will give you more info on which menus it appeared in and it will also provide a graph of the normalized frequency per year (when and how often did the term appear in menus) Let’s use “Bisque of Scallops” as out example. That term appeared in 4 menus between 1905 and 1965 (appearing specifically in one menu per year scanned in the years 1905, 1913, 1916 and 1965). Twice it appeared on the menus for the Waldorf Astoria in 1913 and 1916, but has not appeared in any of the scanned menus since 1965 (in the Newarker at Newark Airport menu).


I have hit the motherlode here and I could get lost in this site for hours. If you are as big of a dork about food and food history as I am, run, don’t walk to this site and check it out for yourself!



Link Roundup Volume 1


Link Roundup Volume 1

Nothing says, “Hey it’s been a while since I posted something, but I don’t have any ideas for what to post,” then posting a link roundup post. The stock photo above represents my current level of inspiration for posting, a few bedraggled crumbs of creativity on an otherwise empty plate. So instead I will let other people do the hard work, link to their stories and write up something short, witty and insightful about their story and hopefully entertain you in the process and the site I linked to gets another click from you the dear reader…

  • In the news media, there are news reports and stories that can be informative, but not timely or related to current events that can be used as a space filler on a slow news day, they are called canned stories because they can be used a lot longer than the typical news story and can sometimes be repeated after a decent interval in time. Well this isn’t a canned story, but it is a “canned story” from the Washington Post about how canned tuna is not as popular as it used to be. I used to eat tuna a lot more when I was younger, usually in the form of a tuna fish sandwich packed in my lunch for school. These days I get most of my tuna via sushi, I am probably not alone.
  • I have written about McDonalds before and will certainly write about them again in the future, they are the elephant in the room when it comes to American fast food, or even eating out in general. In this story, McDonalds is fighting the uphill battle against the perception that low prices=low quality. There was one interesting quote that stuck out at me regarding their volume and high turnover of food and its freshness, as said by a McDonalds executive: “The produce and the products that we have at breakfast and across the menu are fresher than — no disrespect intended — what most of you have in your refrigerators” And they would be right…
  • I have a gut feeling that you will find this story interesting. Apparently digestive tract bacteria may influence us to select food that is beneficial to the bacteria, but perhaps unhealthy for us…
  • Did you know there was such a thing as a breakfast club sandwich? I didn’t even though it makes perfect sense that such a thing would exist, check out this excellent looking recipe for one on this blog.
  • And finally for dessert, check out this recipe for a no bake chocolate lasagna.

Hopefully you will find something above that strikes your fancy and is food for the mind…

It Was Delicious, But It Was a Sad Desk Lunch…

My Chicken Salad Sandwich

You may remember this picture from my post back in July when I made my own version of the Chicken BLT sandwich from Starbucks.

You were amazed and delighted when I discussed the original sandwich prepared by Starbucks and nearly passed out from sheer ecstasy when I posted my own version of the sandwich (recipe included).

But while you were drooling over your keyboards and thinking if you had the ingredients on hand to duplicate the masterpiece, did you notice the background of the picture? Did the benevolent rays of the unfiltered sun beam down on my sandwich like a spotlight on the tender chicken? No. Did the cedar planks of the picnic table contrast nicely with the verdant greenery of the lettuce? No. Was there a bottle of wine and a beautiful lady blending in to the background? Oh hell no!

This was a lunch at my desk at work. (Cue the sad trombone.) My only companions were my desk phone, a highlighter, an electric stapler and a bedraggled notepad.

Fortunately I am not alone in my suffering, millions upon millions of people worldwide eat their lunch at their desk. Some eat there because they have no time to break away from their work, I eat there because I prefer not to spend any more time at work than necessary. An extra half hour seeking and eating lunch outside the office means an extra half hour stuck at work in the late afternoon, and a half hour less to do something useful outside of work, like making dinner.

The website chronicles the culinary attempts (some delicious looking, lots of leftovers and some that just have to be seen to be believed)

You may laugh and think that a sad desk lunch is something that only happens to other people, but I guarantee that it is only a matter of time till you are reheating Thai leftovers from the weekend out of the container they sent it home with you with a pink fork from that office birthday gathering back in May.

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