What to order from a 1950s Mother’s Day menu from the Gramercy Hotel

Vintage menus from New York City hotels reveal a lot about how food choices and dining habits have changed over the years.

Case in point is this Mother’s Day menu from the luxurious Hotel Gramercy Park for May 8, 1955. The menu is for dinner, with dinner starting at noon. It’s a reminder that what we generally call “dinner” today was typically served a lot earlier in the afternoon; this mention of Sunday in New York during the Gilded Age has it that dinner was always served at 1 p.m. A smaller evening meal would be supper.

The menu itself also has a very feminized look to it, with floral images and pink type. In the 1950s, I doubt anyone complained. Today’s customers might take issue with the traditional female feel.

The menu items, though, are quite hearty, with an assortment of old-school appetizers (stuffed celery hearts, seafood cocktail) and 14 entrees (plus a cold buffet) you would expect from a menu in the 1950s. Lobster Newburgh has an old New York backstory, as it supposedly was first served at Gilded Age favorite Delmonico’s in 1876.

The desserts look divine. I wonder how many moms chose the stewed prunes over the layer cake? As for beverages, this might be the oldest mention I’ve seen on a menu of iced coffee.

[Menu: NYPL]

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6 Responses to “What to order from a 1950s Mother’s Day menu from the Gramercy Hotel”

  1. Kevin FoleyLittell Says:

    With the exception of Camembert and a few of the soup offerings, I don’t notice a foreign item on the memo. Very bland and very much how my family ate when I was a child. Thanks for posting.

  2. countrypaul Says:

    For my family, salt and pepper were spices, and I confess I’ve never developed a taste for spicy food. I’m heading right over to the Gramercy for dinner now! (I’ve always had a warm place in my heart for ham steak – childhood comfort food.) And those prices – of course, at the time, a family making $20,000 a year was very comfortable. Things changed quickly….

  3. M@ineman Says:

    Interesting to see “Kennebec Salmon” on the menu. I live on the Kennebec (Midcoast Maine) and all of us are hopeful about environmental efforts underway to bring the salmon back. I cannot imagine that it was on any menus much after 1955.

  4. VirginiaLB Says:

    So glad to see ‘string beans’ on this menu! Some children in the family were puzzled recently by the term. Evidently it’s ‘green beans’ now, probably a marketing ploy, green more appealing than string.. And of course no one has to de-string string beans anymore. I’m showing them your post to prove I didn’t make up the term so thanks, as always!

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