Most Victorian Era cookbooks contained menus. These menus might include meals for special occasions, for example Christmas Eve dinners, or weddings. They also might include examples of what to serve for meals with different numbers of diners, from a small family supper to a banquet with guests.
Early 1800s Menus.
These first menus are from The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, a cookbook published in 1808. What makes them unique is that they are written to give the cook directions on how the various dishes should be arranged on the table. Main dishes are in the center, with the smaller sides arranged around those main dishes. The reader immediately notices the heavy emphasis on meat dishes.
Late 1800s Menus.
By the late 1800s, you’ll find that the menus take on a decidedly more sophisticated flair. The examples below come from the Franco-American Cookery Book; Or, how to live well and eat wisely every day of the year, printed in 1884. The reader finds recommendations for how many individuals the menu will serve, along with clear courses from soup to dessert.
Menus for Special Occasions.
- An Overview of Victorian Cookbooks
- 7 Thanksgiving Menus ~1898
- 6 Simple Dinner Menus ~1922
- Food for Picnics ~1915
- Strawberry Season! 1920