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Is this the answer to why a ballerina was dancing in a champagne glass covered by a top hat?

One of the latest additions to the Cool Culinaria collection is from the Hi Hat Cocktail Lounge Wine List. The bar was in the Ambassador Hotel in Washington D.C. and our cover comes from the 1930s: We posed this query in the product information: "We’re not quite sure why a ballerina is dancing in a champagne glass covered by a top hat..." and Susan Elin Zacharias came back to us with a very plausible explanation: "The ballerina, Anna Pavlova, performed at the Shubert-Belasco Theater, Washington DC. Since the theater was only 2 blocks away from The Ambassador Hotel, I have a hunch that she stayed there, and this was a tribute to her when she died in 1931. (Both buildings were...

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Night time on the City of New Orleans, changing cars in Memphis Tennessee...

"Illinois Central, Monday morning rail... " We love being able to link Cool Culinaria's vintage menu art to music because it's all  part of America's amazing history. City of New Orleans is a double win for us. Some say it is the best train story ever written and it is one of our all-time favorite tracks. And then... we have a lovely menu cover from the railroad itself. Originally written by Steve Goodman around 1971, City of New Orleans was first a hit for Arlo Guthrie on his 1972 album Hobo's Lullaby and then Willie Nelson's version earned Goodman a posthumous Grammy in 1985. Here's our Illinois Central Beverage Menu from 1956 and its interior menu: simple and stylish like...

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How the song "Lone Fish-Ball" became "One Meat Ball"

According to Harvard Magazine: “YOU GETS no bread with one meat ball.” In 1944 Hy Zaret (who also co-wrote "Unchained Melody") and Lou Singer, of Tin Pan Alley, dusted off a largely forgotten old song (Lone Fish-Ball), modernized its diction, changed the melody from bouncy to bluesy, and brought forth “One Meat Ball,” a ballad about an underfunded diner and an intimidating waiter. George Martin Lane (1823-1897) penned “The Lone Fish-Ball,” first published in 1855, while he was living at “Clover Den,” bachelor digs at what is now 29 Follen Street in Cambridge. Though a fish ball was a New England delicacy made of fish stock and potatoes fried and usually consumed at breakfast, “The Lone Fish-Ball” is identical to “One Meat...

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Things We Love: John Broadley's Wonderful Illustrations For London's Quo Vadis Restaurant

Modern menu design can seem bland compared to the whimsical illustrations that we admire on vintage menus. But some proprietors are doing interesting things with their menus and we are big fans of the work of John Broadley, whose quirky illustrations are featured on the menus of Quo Vadis in London. We spoke to the 43-year-old illustrator who lives in London and asked him about his menu illustrations. You started doing the Quo Vadis work back in January 2012. Had you ever done anything related to food before that? I stopped working as an illustrator in the mid 1990s, got an unrelated regular job, and began making hand-made books of drawings instead. Apart from the odd job now and again...

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Cleaning The Buttolph Menus From The British Library

Miss Frank E. Buttolph, the pioneering menu collector, donated more than 25,000 menus to the New York Public Library. What is less well known is that she often sent menus and other ephemera to the British Museum in London around the turn-of-the-century. Frank, as Miss Buttolph was known, was trying to elicit the help of British Museum staff in obtaining menus from the UK for her growing collection in the NYPL. She sent more than 300 items over several years and they are kept together in four large leather bound volumes. They can be viewed in the Reading Room of the Library but cannot be photographed by visitors. The selected menus that form Cool Culinaria’s Buttolph British Library Collection have...

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