Going out to Dinner in 1907

Waldorf Astoria Dinner Menu, 1907

Did you know that the New York Public Library houses a collection of over 40,000 menus dating all the way back to the 1840s? SO cool. Looking at these menus is not only incredibly fun, it also provides a great deal of insight into the past and raises some interesting questions. For instance, how many dishes did people order in a typical meal? In what order were the dishes served? Was fruit considered dessert or a pre-dessert? And most importantly, who were the total ballers who ordered the Canvasback Duck?

What’s even cooler is that they’re looking for help transcribing the menus in order to build a searchable database of dishes. You can help right from your very own laptop, while you’re watching Real Housewives of New York. Not that I’m doing that right now or anything. Check out the NYPL’s menus site for details!