Friday, May 11, 2007

Culinary history of the railroads, May 10, 1869

From: Josephine Hyde

For a piece on culinary history of the railroads, I am looking for accounts of what was served to the dignitaries following the Golden spike ceremony in the Directors' car. So far, I have read that California champagne, wine and fruit were served. Is anyone in this group aware of other sources with more specific information? I would also be interested in learning what was served at various celebratory meals around the country, for instance the Lick Hotel's "Chicago Banquet."

I appreciate your help.


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kevin Bunker"

I'd be curious to know myself; there's a strong likelihood that the menu was fairly short. As we should recall, May 8th was the designated day for the Great Event, except for the machinations of Dr. Durant that ended up preventing arrival of UP and Eastern dignitaries until the 10th.

Meanwhile, the CPRR dignitaries had to eat for two days running and probably consumed much of what was contained in the Commissary Car coupled ahead of the Directors' Car. Stanford also hosted the first eastbound excursion over the parallel CP grade toward Corinne on the 9th [sic] and I seem to recall a luncheon was involved.

Without refrigeration, whatever was brought aboard at Sacramento (was the Commissary Car last restocked at Reno?) and with a full day's trip back west to Reno and home to California, the CP officials probably had to rely on local Utah game to fill in as best they could whatever victual holes there might have been after the 9th or 10th. I'd be interested to know whether Stanford & Company ordered any food out of Salt Lake City to get them through the events of the 10th and then home in better fashion.


5/11/2007 9:43 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


I seem to recall that the UP hosted the CP folks on the May 9 excursion east from Promontory – particularly as I don't think the CP alignment had any rails on it at that time.

As to menus, good question. Same for restocking. I wonder if the CP vouchers at CSRM might shed any light, both as to menu and to restocking.


5/11/2007 9:47 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Seth Bramson

There are at least three books on the transcon RR. Perhaps they would have the info that Ms. Hyde is seeking.

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

5/12/2007 8:13 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Also see the Invitation and Menu for the Central Pacific Railroad banquet in Sacramento, California on September 28, 1869.

5/12/2007 8:35 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

General information about 19th century dining:

Food Timeline – Culinary History Timeline; social history, manners & menus


1880s, Promontory UT – Restaurants & boarding houses

5/12/2007 8:46 AM  

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