On the menu for 2010

I’ve been writing about the history of restaurants for about 18 months now. I thought it would get easier but instead it’s become harder. Each post takes me longer to write. Partly it’s because I keep learning more about our American restaurant past and partly it’s because I realize that readers are taking my blog seriously and I’ve got to be sure about what I say. I’m always tempted to go back and add to old posts but manage to fight off that impulse fairly well unless I learn of a blatant error.

One thing that’s been a lot of fun is hearing from people whose relatives ran or worked in some of the restaurants I’ve featured. This has been true of Toffenetti’s, the Maramor, and Don Dickerman’s Pirate’s Den.

Onward! I haven’t even come close to running out of ideas and I have an ever-growing storehouse of fabulous images. Here are some of the topics I have in mind for 2010:

• Hidden history: Afro-American women restaurant cooks and proprietors

• More tastes of a decade, beginning with 1900-1910

• Linen supply and the mob, a topic I never did get around to in 2009

• A question that intrigues me: when did chocolate desserts become big restaurant items?

• Failed fast food chains – supposedly chains offer operators a hedge against the high mortality rate of restaurants, but consider how many entire chains have vanished

• Portraits of restaurant towns, beginning with Portland OR – this is turning out to be a lot harder than I expected

• The influence of France and fantasies about Paris upon American eating places

• Confectionery-based restaurants

• Sherry’s, as a leading example of the former topic

• Sociopath turned restaurateur: Mike Romanoff

• Anatomy of a restaurateur: Colonel Harland Sanders

• Good eaters: newspaper reporters

• The role of gossip columnists in building the restaurant business

• Chinese restaurants-cum-nightclubs of the 1920s and 1930s

• Austrian-American restaurateurs, a little explored ethnic group

• Crazy restaurant equipment patents

• Speakeasies as eating places

Ooh – have I ordered too much? Is my appetite bigger than my capacity? We shall see. Best wishes to all for a delicious and satisfying new year.


Filed under miscellaneous

8 responses to “On the menu for 2010

  1. Aimee S.

    Wonderful Jan! I love reading your blog and find everything quite fascinating. Happy New Year to you and yours and I look forward to reading more of your fantastic posts!!

  2. Jan, what an interesting idea for a blog, and a book. I love the vintage advertising, would make an exciting collection. Did you see the report on blind dining on CBS Sunday Morning News last year?


  3. Gil

    Just stumbled across your wonderful site. I really appreciate the work that you’re doing. Well researched, thoughtful topics, rare images, and great writing. Looking forward to visiting often in the new year!

  4. Fascinating topics. I look forward to these future posts and have really enjoyed learning about restaurant history from this well-researched and visually rich blog.

  5. Wow! Great posts ahead!

    Looking forward to it. 🙂

  6. i’m really looking forward to all these interesting posts – it’s always a pleasure reading your work

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