Oysters, consomme, broiled quail on toast, stuffed breast of veal…these are the nibbles you might have shared with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day at the turn of the 20th century.

FL menu 2 cover

FL menu 2

The dinner menu from the Alcazar Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, 1900._


Chat Menu 1

Menu 1

The dinner menu from the Stanton House in Chattanooga, TN, 1901_. _

With dishes like Salad a la Russe, Spanish Cream, Boiled Beef a la Flamande, Filet Mignon Portugaise, and Salmi of Duck a la Cavour, both of these menus required some knowledge of French food language and an appreciation of European cuisines.

I love the sound of Lalla Rook Punch, a soft vanilla ice cream with rum, and Punch Creme Yvette, which likely took its feminine name from an eponymous French liqueur made of summer berries and dried violet petals. Contrary to current fashion, none of the desserts seem to be chocolate-based.

What foods would you like to see on the menu this Valentine’s Day?

These menu images are part of the New York Public Library’s Miss Frank E. Buttolph American Menu Collection.