Paul delvaux

The art of menus

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. Menus are, then, not merely functional lists, they are self-advertisements, exhibitions, seductions and, occasionally, desirable objects that are apparently collectible. Indeed this book has the unmistakable feel of an obsessive’s scrapbook, a completist’s trophy. The completist in question is Taschen’s California editor