From The Los Angeles Public Library Menu Collection: Air France and the Decline of Airline Food
Exploring the LAPL menu collection is an ongoing project in which we'll take a close look at the menus owned by the Los Angeles Public Library. Read about the project here.
lapl.org Air France menu, Los Angeles - Paris, date unknown
If you've ever had the feeling that the awful quality of airline food has very little to do with the problems of technology inherent in storing and getting food hot on an airplane and more to do with us being suckered by the airlines, you need look no farther than the Air France menus in the LAPL menu collection.
Apart from anything else, these menus are gorgeous. Many of them, like the one pictured to the right, aren't dated, and some are from the 60's. This first one is from an L.A.-Paris flight, and if you were lucky enough to be on this flight, you would have been in for quite a feast.
You would begin with cocktails, then move on to caviar. It's not clear whether you got salmon, Chateaubriand and duck l'orange or whether you had to choose between them, but those dishes were accompanied by haricots verts and artichoke hearts, and followed salad, a cheese course, ice cream, petits fours and desserts. There was, of course, Champagne to go with the meal.
By the 70's, the artwork had grown more modernist and the food had become considerably less extravagant. Salmon or beef, rice pilaf, cheese and dessert, which doesn't sound so different from the food served today.
See below for the menus described here, as well as some of the stunning artwork from those earlier menus, most of them taken from very early Air France posters.
You can see all the Air France menus in the LAPL collection (there are lots, and they're all pretty great) at the Library website.
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