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Menu, Speak To Me (or not)

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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:33 pm    Post subject: Menu, Speak To Me (or not) Reply with quote

I remember it well. 1975. That was the first time I noticed menus that talk to me. It was a bagel place in lower Mahatten. I think I was there helping my Dad. I used to go to work with him during tax season and help him at the office by filling out his timesheets and doing other tasks. A subway ride to the city and lunch downtown was my reward.

So, anyway, I remember reading the menu and it was me! It said things like "you'll love our nu poppy and pumpernickel bagel" (they used a lot of mock Yiddish). Me? Is this menu talking to me? Before that menu, menus used to say...well, nothing...they used to have a list of nouns as in:

Bagel and Cream Cheese....75 cents
Egg Bagel and Cream Cheese....85 cents

The didn't say things like "our soup and salad bar will refresh and delight you". They didn't say things like "we use only the freshest mahi mahi flown in by carrier overnight and dice and broil it to perfection with seasoned butter and a creme de pepper sauce. You'll have a Hawaiian picnic eating this tasty fish from the Land of Paradise". That "to perfection" thing gets to me. It's always grilled "to perfection". Is that a setting on the stove? Please, I'll buy a new one if it is...

The thing is, for a while (1975-86), the really good places would have the menus that talked to you, so it was kind of a indicator of a trendy good place...but over time, every mall chain adopted the style.

Nowadays, if someone handed me a white sheet of paper, with a list of entrees in black Times Roman text, consisting solely of food nouns:
    Broiled Snapper
    New York Steak
    Baked Potato

...I'd probably think it was a Five Star place...
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