21 August 2017

Yummy Food for the Tummy – Dining Out & Sweet Memories

Yummy Food for the Tummy – Dining Out & Sweet Memories

Just about a year ago, I mentioned my Auntie Edith in the post, The Right to Privacy – Personal Correspondence.  She is the source of the stories in A Window of Memories and gave me permission to publish them.

For this post, I want to share a particular story … FYI, the mentioned Margaret is my mother.

Thinking about this (pulling off heart monitoring connectors) reminded me of an incident during World War 2. Elsie had taken Margaret (pictured a few years earlier) to stay with her Mum & Dad in Derby for a few weeks. They went on a shopping spree in town and decided to have “elevenses”. Auntie Mary was a very particular person and nothing but the best would do for her and so they ended up in Derby’s poshest (and most expensive) restaurant. Elsie and her mum were chatting and eating their toasted tea cakes and drinking coffee quite happily, when it was suddenly brought to their notice that Margaret, tucked away (safely, as they thought) in her pushchair, had been doing a bit of exploring and having found a loose corner, had happily stripped off several large pieces of very expensive flock wallpaper! (a girl after my own heart). I don’t know how much it cost Auntie Mary to get out of that one but I bet she never went in that shop again.

Dining out at restaurants can be a great source of memories!  And, we are not always talking fine dining establishments.  Growing up, it was our ritual on Friday nights to eat dinner at McDonalds (my mother always wanted a “plain” fish sandwich – if one remembers how slow service was back in the early days of McDonalds, you can just “hear” our groans, all to no avail!) and then go grocery shopping.  We did that for years and years! 

On a “rare” occasion we visited a local steak restaurant and we didn’t really eat out much except for one other really memorable time at The Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City.  I can still visualize the restaurant and it was the only time (I think my dad learned a very expensive lesson that meal) we went to such a “posh” restaurant and in the “Big City” at that. He said we could have whatever we wanted.  I remember that I had “boars head paté” and a “coffee cup soufflé” (which was served in a coffee cup).  Don’t ask me anything else about what anyone else ate and I remember what I had!  After that, it was back to McDonalds .

I can still bite into a child’s size cheeseburger and be taken back to those Friday nights.

To help us with our recollections or to suggest where our family members may have eaten out, there are menu collections for us to access.

Learn more about some of these collections via:
(1) The Woman Who Collected More Than 25,000 Menus.  You can access some of her collection here. A related initiative is What’s on the menu? – an effort to transcribe menus.  So far 1,332,621 dishes have been transcribed from 17,545 menus.

You can also find a few more resources via The Old Foodie – Online Menu Collections.

What are your memories of eating out growing up?

What are some of the iconic tales shared in your family about dining out?

What was your favorite restaurant as a child?

What other collections of menus are you aware of?

Editor’s Note: I searched Newspapers.com and in the Delaware County Daily Times (Chester, PA), 21 Feb 1968, Page 20, there are recipes given for soufflés and the article states “At the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York, these individual coffee souffles are actually baked and served in coffee cups – hence the name.” My mouth just salivates as I read the recipe and the one I had!


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