To Waiters: Please Just Pick Something for Me

This 1904 Post editorial claimed that more and more of what Americans wanted was placed within their reach. But in the matter of dining, it had gone too far.


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—“From The Sanctification of the Tip,” editorial from the August 27, 1904, issue of The Saturday Evening Post

In great cities nowadays it is easy to get anything you want except what you really do want. The overloaded menu is the cause. Man attacks it with awe and throws it down in desperation. From every meal he arises with a conviction that he should be happy if he could return to another age when there were not so many things to eat.

It is really a delight in the mystifications of the menu to find a waiter who will take the responsibility of the selection and place upon the table a simple repast that doesn’t have to be laboriously selected from the card. There is, indeed, a future for the humble waiter who will study his patrons as doctors study their patients and prescribe for them.

Read “The Sanctification of the Tip” from the August 27, 1904 issue of The Saturday Evening Post

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  1. That 1904 editorial makes it quite clear over choice on too many things was already a real problem. Too easy to get everything you want except what you really do want. Looking at that opening picture (late 1930’s?) there’s an over choice problem I’ll never have again: picking out what to order off a menu in a French restaurant.

    There simply aren’t any in the (not so) greater L.A. area. The last one of two (Chez Nous in Toluca Lake) closed in 2012. It was beautifully lit up at night, all year round. The menu was wonderful. God their escargot in garlic butter sauce with that bread was fantastique. Bon appetit while it lasted.


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