Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fine Dining in Hudson 70 Years Ago

It was the middle of World War II. Food was being rationed. Forty percent of the vegetables consumed on the home front came from victory gardens. Still, in spite of it all, you could get a sumptuous meal at the General Worth Hotel. Here is the menu for October 24, 1943.

A whole broiled lobster for $1.75 seems like a really good deal until you consider that the average annual salary in 1943 was something like $1,300.


  1. The War was over by October 24, 1945 wasn't it? That's the date of this menu.

    I think V-J Day was August 15, 1945 (not that there might not still have been rationing &c -- there was rationing in England until the mid-1950s -- but the War emergency in America would have been over).

    -- Jock Spivy

    1. Look again, Jock. The date on the menu is definitely 1943. The 3 is formed with a straight line at the top, which makes it possible to confuse it with a 5, and the typewriter print isn't all that precise, but the year was 1943.

  2. OK, I see it now. My mistake; the 3 looked like a 5 on my screen. The War was still still raging.

    Pretty amazing menu under the circumstances! Goes to show how much better off we were than the other combatants.

    -- Jock Spivy

  3. I think what this menu shows is how the rich maintained their high-flying lifestyles in a world of rationing, death and destruction.

    Everything on the menu is familiar except one item: Tockyroad Ice Cream. I presume this is a spelling error, which is in itself interesting since Rocky Road was a popular ice cream flavor among the masses during the Great Depression.