News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 2 to 3 p.m.

Antique LA menus serve up the city's food and cultural history




The front cover of a menu from the LA Chamber of Commerce's Annual Banquet in 1895.
The front cover of a menu from the LA Chamber of Commerce's Annual Banquet in 1895.
Los Angeles Public Library Special Collections
The front cover of a menu from the LA Chamber of Commerce's Annual Banquet in 1895.
The front cover of a menu from the famous Brown Derby restaurant, dated 1947.
Los Angeles Public Library Special Collections


Listen to story

07:48
Download this story 3.0MB

You know the old adage you are what you eat? If that's the case, what better way to understand a city's evolution than to look at its menus.

That's just what USC Professor Josh Kun has done. 

He pored through the archives at L.A.'s Central Library for a fabulous new book, "To Live and Dine in LA."

Through these menus, he says we can better understand the city's cultural and food history. The library's exhibition launches on Saturday, June 13.

Kun will moderate a panel discussion with chefs Joachim Splichal, Cynthia Hawkins and Ricardo Diaz on Sunday, June 14 at 3pm. It takes place the Central Library's Mark Taper Forum, and more info on how to attend here.

The inside and back cover of the menu from a 1895 banquet hosted by the LA Chamber of Commerce. Click the images for a larger view. (courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Special Collections)

 

The inside and back cover of the menu from the legendary Brown Derby restaurant, dated 1953. Click the images for a larger view. (courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library Special Collections)