The fast food hamburger was born in Wichita, Kanas in 1921 when the first White Castle restaurant was opened. Over the years, White Castle (along with many other chains) became known for its premiums, or giveaways. Some, like toys, makes sense. Other premiums, like scorecards for bridge players and the following menu suggestions guide, seem a little weird now.
The cover is a little stained, but cut me some slack — this thing is from 1940.
The shield-like emblem makes me want to fight alongside William Wallace for my hamburgers’ freedom.
Clearly, this guide is targeted at house wives. I love the idea that a White Castle hamburger is positioned as merely one part of a larger, home-cooked meal.
Notice the statement at the top-left of every page. “Only U.S. Government Inspected Beef.” This speaks to the concerns raised 34 years earlier in The Jungle.
Back in the old days, a location finder was printed on paper. (Pages 8-9 contain more locations.)
The kids would line up for hours to sample the boiled spinach with brown sauce. Mmmm…
Tomato aspic and stuffed celery are both considered torture by the United Nations.
I’m starting to notice a trend.
I had never heard of sponge drops before today, and now I must have them. They kind of remind me of the Donut Man’s strawberry donuts.
Cucumber-pineapple jellied salad? What the hell were they thinking in the 40s?
Saratoga chips is what they used to call potato chips. It’s also what I will be calling potato chips from now on. I’m sorry, in advance, to my friends and family.
Mustard pickle? Yes please.
I think it would be a blast to recreate some of these menus. Let me know if you are interested in preparing some of these meals and documenting the process with photos and video. I’m looking forward to the tomato aspic in particular. If this sounds like fun, email me and we’ll put it all up on LA Foodie.
Click on the final image above to see the entire White Castle Menu Suggestions set on Flickr.