Until restaurants became popular in the 1800's, a printed menu, unless it was a special occasion, was as rare a sight as eating with your hat on. Since then, menu design has become more and more important as a branding tool, an excuse to sit back and peruse an establishment's offerings, hell, even a keepsake.
Now, thanks to Menu Design in America: 1850-1985, there exists an omnibus of nearly 800 full-color examples of this art form, helping to build a visual past of dining habits and restaurants across the U.S.A.
From first-class publisher Taschen, the book includes menu covers and interiors, photographs of restaurants, an introduction on the history of menu design by graphic design writer Steven Heller, and extended captions by culinary historian John Mariani.
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For a beautifully done peek into our gastronomic history of dining out via graphic design, this book's for you.
My copy arrived last week and there hasn't been a day I haven't picked it up and enjoyed turning a page or two. Want one for yourself or a foodie friend? Go here.