Originally, menus were offered to consumers who would choose items of food from a chalk-board. In French this was known as “carte”, therefore, food selected via this method is referred to as “à la carte,” or “according to the board.” Here we have an example of a front cover of an à la carte dining menu from a dinner service on board the former P&O cruise-ship, the SS Orsova.
The illustrative cover depicts an early British Monarch, Elizabeth 1 (1558-1603) and this menu is the 2nd of a series of 6 menu cards on the subject of “Queens of England”. For the record, Elizabeth 1, came to the throne at the tender age of 24 and reigned for 44 years.
This menu series was drawn by Miss Dorrit Dekk especially for the Pacific & Orient Line. She illustrated many menus for the shipping line in the late 1950s.
OK, so some of you are interested in the illustrations on the menu, others may be interested in what was for dinner, on this particular night. It was Monday 10th February, 1958: Here’s the menu:
- Soup – Cream Chabrillan.
- Crumbed fillet of flounder, Sauce Tartare
- Stuffed breast of lamb with green peas.
- Roast sirloin of beef, Yorkshire pudding.
- Potatoes: Baked or boiled. Cauliflower.
- Cold Buffet: shoulder of lamb, galantine of chicken.
- Blackcurrant tart with cream, coupe Alexandra.
- Apples and bananas.
Coffee as per usual, was served in the Veranda Bar and Library.
Cruise enthusiasts of the day were encouraged to keep their menus and often instructed to contact the Head Waiter for the full set of menus per voyage, if required.