The Whole Art of Dining - The Art of Composing a Menu




To the eminent Brillat-Savarin is attributed the saying, “To know how to eat and drink with discernment is a science which belongs only to epicures gifted with a refined taste.” And as a corollary it may be added that to know how to draw up a menu properly, so as to tempt epicures to indulge pleasurably in dainty dishes, is an art which belongs only to those gifted with gastronomic discernment, baked up by a practical knowledge of the culinary art.

I propose to throw a little much-needed light on the subject of Menu composition. First of all, the success of a dinner of importance is not entirely due to the correct and skilful way in which the dishes are cooked and presented, but in no small measure to their harmonious arrangement on the menu.

“Menu mal fait, diner perdu,“ so runs an old French proverb; indicating that if the dishes are not judiciously chosen and their order not wisely arranged the repast cannot be satisfactory from an epicurean standpoint.

To draw up a menu for an important dinner is not an easy matter, as some inexperienced people are inclined to believe; it is an art that is only acquired by long experience gained in the best schools. I have often seen menus composed by people quite competent in other branches of the Hotel and Restaurant business, that showed a lamentable ignorance of the rules which govern menu composition.

The dinner menu of to-day is not the result of custom or fashion altogether, but has gradually been evolved from the scientific study of the true needs of the digestion.

The Hors-d’oevre is meant to stimulate the flow of saliva

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