Thursday, September 23, 2010

What's on the Menu?

A sampling collection of menus
I collected my first menu on our honeymoon.  Chris & I ate at The Cornflour Restaurant (former name) at the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge the morning we left to go back home.  I loved their Corn-Drop Biscuits--even got the recipe.  I don't know what made me ask for a menu, but I love that I can look back on it so many years later!  A few years later I attended my brother Joel's "Madrygale Dyner" at Wright State University.  It was so much fun...I ended up keeping that menu too.

In 1999 my husband became stationed in England, and our family of four moved to Bury St. Edmunds.  I loved all five years we lived there -- and I have to say one of my favorite things to do was eat!  Of course tearooms were my favorite, but fish & chips --- YUM!!  I started collecting menus for some of the more interesting places we ate at.  I wanted to remember what I ate, what it was named, and maybe...I'd try to duplicate making it later (I love to cook -- another of my passions).  Anyway, at some point I saw an idea in Family Fun magazine where a Grandmother (if I remember correctly) made her grand-daughter a Menu to play restaurant with.  And so I began thinking how I could make menus for my nieces that were around 4 - 6 years old.  I wanted it to be a menu of their favorite foods and based on things they loved...such as a favorite book, or movie, etc.  So I came up with a survey I called the "Silly Vanilly Survey".  It was meant to be a silly survey that a parent could help them fill out with all their favorite, and not so favorite things.  I made it more fun by including a dollar for completing the survey, and a SASE for them to return it to me.  Then I came up with a Menu of their favorite foods with fun names, and laminated it (using my Your Story for laminating is SO easy).  I included Main Meals, Side Dishes, Special of the Day, Drinks, What We Don't Serve, and Desserts.  I also included a Mascot & Motto -- all taken off their completed surveys.  When the menu was finished, I went to the dollar store and bought color coordinated plates, cups, plasticware, napkins, measuring spoons/cups, guest checks, and more to fit in a tote bag or basket.  Then off in the mail it went for either a Christmas or Birthday gift.
Lots of fun stuff for a start-up restaurant!

Restaurant Wars - pint sized
I can remember growing up, Dad would be driving us home from church -- Dad would call out, "Who wants to go to the best restaurant in town?"  And before we actually caught on (a month or two of Sundays) we would all hoop and hollar, "ME!!!"  It always turned out to be that the best restaurant in town was...Home...."Shank's Restaurant"!  And so of course, you'll probably figure out, one of the menus I ended up making was for my Mom & Dad.  Yep...I called it "Shank's Restaurant".  Ha surprise there...but as the oldest of six kids I was able to incorporate memories of food from each of us, and even my own two boys.  Just by reading the menu, you can get an idea about what life was like around the dinner table.  This menu has really become a keepsake since my Dad passed away the end of 2008.  Some memories go great with food--don't they?!

Great Find - found the folder at the dollar store, added a few embellishments--Viola!

Most recently I finished my niece, Cesi's menu and plan to mail it out today!  Now...what to make for the boys in the family??  Don't worry...I've got a little something in mind.  But that's another story.  =)

I hope you enjoyed this fun little menu-fest. 
Thanks for stopping by & hanging out with me.  

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