Jonathan Meades

The art of menus

Menus are not merely functional lists – they are self-advertisements, exhibitions, seductions and, occasionally, objects of desire

Cencio, c.1956, Milan. Picture courtesy of the Jim Heimann Collection.

There is, of course, no endeavour, no craft, no profession, no trade that neglects to ‘reflect society’. This is a commonplace. The collective narcissism of considerate builders, for instance, claims that hod carriers and brickwork reflect society. The contention of Menu Design in Europe is kindred. Graphic artists, restaurateurs, decorators and chefs have, through two centuries, expanded their capabilities according to the milieux in which they have practised.

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