By WILLIAM J. KELLY
Fine dining was really not difficult to find back in the ’30s and ’40s. Today it is almost impossible to find that type of restaurant.
Recently, I saw an ad by Ruth’s Chris Steak House advertising a three-course dinner for somewhere around $32. This is one of the better restaurants in this area and they are making a big deal out of a three-course dinner. Let me tell you what it was like back then!
A nice restaurant, not one in a hotel, would have the table set with a cloth table cloth, cloth napkins, the proper amount of silver and a cream and sugar set. Upon being seated, the waitress would bring water in a nice glass — not plastic — the menu and assorted dinner rolls.
After your selection of an entrée and beverage, the dinner would begin with a shrimp cocktail, followed by a cup of soup of your choice. Then you would be served the salad and next the entree with a small serving of sherbet. Dessert, always included, was then served. The entire dinner was served on good china and stem ware. The food was served hot and not cooled while some chef made the dinner plate a work of art. A proper amount of time was allowed between each course.
We can’t compare the cost of dinner 70 years ago with the cost today, but just so you know, a dinner as I described would only cost $1.25 to $3. Today we get plastic everything, no spoons and small, thin paper napkins and sometimes an entire dinner served on one plate. Which was better, then or now? What do you think?
• In 1803, a Maryland farmer designed the first refrigerator. It was a cedar tub lined with tin and insulated with rabbit skins.