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Christmas menu, December 25, 1889, Hôtel du Quirinal


Christmas menus in the Bohn collection are delicate and charming, with little of the morbid visual humor that characterized many of the Thanksgiving menus. The Christmas menus include winter snow scenes, traditional holly and ivy illustrations, and black and white engravings of various landscape and animal scenes. Many of these menus were decorated with colorful silk fringe borders that added a festive element to those menus that lacked graphics or cover images.

Christmas menu cuisine appeared to be very similar to that found on Thanksgiving menus with turkey, fish, and assorted game dishes offered, along with loads of desserts. Pies such as mince, apple, lemon meringue, and cranberry were popular, but it was also typical to see one particular dessert—English plum pudding with brandy or hard sauce—that is far more likely to be part of the British Christmas tradition today. In fact, plum pudding was a common dessert listed alongside cakes, pies, and ice cream dishes on many American menus in the late 19th century.