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Welcoming Harley Spiller's Vintage Chinese Menu Collection To Cool Culinaria

Harley Spiller Photo: Vincent Laforet/The New York Times He says he’s just a guy who collects stuff but Harley Spiller is being modest. He has a legendary collection of Chinese menus and, for the first time, is making many of them available to Cool Culinaria’s online gallery. Dating from 1910, these menus have striking graphics, colorful imagery and provide a fascinating record of how Chinese food became a staple of American cuisine. With vastly differing styles reflecting diverse eras, they have been given a modern twist and are reproduced on giclee prints, stretched canvases, mugs and greetings cards. An acknowledged authority on Chinese food, Harley has been collecting Chinese menus for more than 30 years and now has an estimated...

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Our Small But Perfectly Formed New Vintage Chinese Menu Collection

Heading into the first days of 2013, we’d like to introduce you to our small but perfectly formed vintage Chinese menu collection. It’s a colorful and fascinating set of menus, characterized by great illustrations and striking graphics. We have selected three to whet your appetite - with more to come. Chinese immigrants came to the United States in 1840s and they were merely regarded as cheap labor. Thousands worked in the mines during The Gold Rush, helped build railroads and toiled in the agricultural industry. They suffered harrowing racial discrimination and opposition to the “yellow peril” became so strong that in 1882 Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which prohibited new Chinese immigration. This barring by race continued with the...

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The Hurricane Night Club, New York 1940s: Four Rarebits and a Scotch Woodcock

Eggs and Rarebits are listed on many old restaurant and nightclub menus, particularly those from the 30s and 40s. These dishes were offered as light supper suggestions or as palate cleansers towards the end of a meal before moving on to dessert. They’re still delicious today.  The Hurricane Nightclub, that occupied a whole floor of the Brill Building at 1619 Broadway, New York, had four different versions of rarebit on offer to their clientele.  Basic Welsh rarebit is a savory, cheesy toast. Here’s one of our favorite recipes from that era: In a small saucepan make a roux by melting 2oz (1/4 cup) of butter and whisking in 2oz (1/4 cup) of flour. Cook for a minute or two and then...

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