Menus at Sea

Wednesday, December 23, 2015
MV AUSTRALIA, Crossing the Line Dinner 27th March 1960. Lloyd Triestino. [16028] Gentians – flowers of Italy

Imagine a gaily coloured menu on your dining table and the anticipation of wondering what food might be on the menu for your meal. Opening the page and finding all kinds of unusual options to choose from.

Examples include: Cat’s tongues; Jellied-broth with Sandeman port wine; Stewed lettuce and Ragoût of wild boar à la Tivoli; Golden tit-bits or Chow chow in syrup.

Seated at the dining table would you even know what some of these foods are?  Would you ask the waiter? Would you just ignore what you did not know and pick something you were familiar with? Or would you be adventurous and try something new?

Or would you look at the menu graphics, ignore the food and wait till the waiter asks for your order and say I will have what he/she is having?

Shipping companies had a supply of printed menus which were designed to showcase heritage buildings, flora and fauna or specially commissioned work by artists.

In 1960 Royal Rotterdam Lloyd held an International Menu Card Competition.

Barrie Ashe entered his Australian design at the age of 21.

The New Zealand Maritime Museum has several hundred menus in its collections, mostly from the heyday of passenger liner travel 1940s – 1980s.