Friday, May 18, 2012

A vintage tea room menu from Lord & Taylor

Vintage menus from department store tea rooms are always fun to read, and perhaps the most unique one yet is this small menu (4-1/2 x 7-7/8 inches) from the Bird Cage tea room at Lord & Taylor, a store founded in New York in 1826 and still in business today! Can you see what's inside, that unusual little artifact up top? For a clue, see some images of the Bird Cage restaurant/tea rooms here and here.

It was, after all, called the BIRD Cage.

Inside is a winsome graphic of this bird winging its way to diners with tea and treats!

So yes, the fun find inside is a feather! (Slightly discolored from glue, I imagine.)

I so enjoy reading the offerings at the old department store tea rooms, things like Tuna Fish and Celery Salad Sandwich, Chive Cottage Cheese and the delightfully-named Piff-O-Puffs. (Any idea what those were, anyone?) But what really turned my head was …


OVEN BAKED BEANS WITH FRANKFURTER CHUNKS? DO YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THEY SERVED BEANEE WEENEES AT THE LORD AND TAYLOR TEA ROOM? (Sorry. Didn't mean to yell there, but I nearly got the vapors reading that!) Still, this was a unique addition to my little collection celebrating part of America's tea room history, and I'm also happy Lord & Taylor is still with us today!

18 comments:

  1. I adore old menus -- food has definitely changed over the years and I have always loved it when they called it "tuna fish" -- wonder when they dropped the "fish" for it's called just tuna now!

    Can you imagine some elegant gloved lady ordering "beenie weenies"? But it was Lord and Taylor after all!

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  2. I thought the buttermilk offering was unusual too. Now I'm going to have to go check my Hudson's menus to see if they offered it. Great find and addition to your collection.

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  3. Love the menu...great find. I googled piff-o-puff and found this
    Shrimp chips?
    "Return with us now to the days of yore - or at least the late 50s/early 60s, before my family moved to New York. Mom brought home some goodies from a visit to NYC, among which was a box of something that looked like multi-colored plastic chips. When placed into a frying pan full of hot oil, they bubbled at the edges for a moment or two, then suddenly puffed up to resemble styrofoam- or maybe a better description would be pork rinds. Drained them on paper towel for a moment and sprinkled salt over them.

    I THINK they were made from dried shrimp paste, but can't swear to it. The surface of the chips before cooking was really smooth. I don't remember them having a distinctive taste - the fun of eating them was in the prep and watching the transformation"

    Had never heard of them...thanks for adding to my fountain of trivia.

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  4. Love the menu...great find. I googled piff-o-puff and found this
    Shrimp chips?
    "Return with us now to the days of yore - or at least the late 50s/early 60s, before my family moved to New York. Mom brought home some goodies from a visit to NYC, among which was a box of something that looked like multi-colored plastic chips. When placed into a frying pan full of hot oil, they bubbled at the edges for a moment or two, then suddenly puffed up to resemble styrofoam- or maybe a better description would be pork rinds. Drained them on paper towel for a moment and sprinkled salt over them.

    I THINK they were made from dried shrimp paste, but can't swear to it. The surface of the chips before cooking was really smooth. I don't remember them having a distinctive taste - the fun of eating them was in the prep and watching the transformation"

    Had never heard of them...thanks for adding to my fountain of trivia.

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  5. Hi Angela,

    What an awesome find! I really like the simplicity and the elegance of the L & T menu.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Blessings,

    Darlene

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  6. I ADORE that menu!!!! I absolutely postively love it!

    Secondly I actually howled with laughter with your reaction to beenie weenies! I am right there with you, Ang on that one. How absolutely extraordinary! and, well, um, just ewwwwww.

    And serving buttermil to drink was rather different as well.

    And piff o puffs was new to me (thanks Marie for clarity on that.)

    And calling tuna "tuna fish?" We still do in my family, haha, something left over from Mom's speak I guess.

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  7. I also love old menus, being a Harvey Girls fan, and it is amazing at the "pedestrian" food of today that shows up in glory on some of them.

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  8. Beenie weenies? That's a hoot!

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  9. That's a great menu, and I laughed at the Beanie Weanie item, too. Never heard of piff-o-puff, sounds intriguing!

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  10. This one is a particularly meaningful one to me! I got my wedding dress from Lord and Taylor.

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  11. What an interesting menu and all your fun comments!

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  12. Where do you find all these wonderful tea things?

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  13. Hello Angela, love the comments about Beenie Weenies, hilarious! And piff-o-puffs...oh my! I enjoy reading your blog, it's always so interesting. Joanie

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  14. So excited to see this. Lord and Taylor is and was one of the best department stores. Upscale but affordable. We always said, "You can always find something at Lord and Taylor". A pretty, tasteful, store with lovely things and service.
    I worked around the corner from the one in Manhattan. They are famous for their charming Christmas windows. The store on Long Island, where I lived was my favorite place to shop. They still had a Bird's Nest but it was much more elegant than those you found. They gave me a laugh.
    (never heard of beenie weenies and I was surprised at buttermilk too. great detective work, Marie)
    Thank you once again, Angela.

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  15. Went there with my mom when my sisters were in school. I ordered the tuna fish sandwich and chocolate milk.!

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    1. I use to have tea and sandwiches with my mom at the Birdacge in the Lord And Taylor in Jenkintown. The birdcages were so lovely and had a hint of the nostalgia of the Victorian times. Each seating arrangement had a birdcage above the table.

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  16. I use to have tea and sandwiches with my mom at the Birdcage at the Jenkintown , Lord and Taylor. The decor was my Favorite and the birdcages were so Victorian and the seating was so cozy and quaint. It was lovely. Veronica Dee Ang

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