Teaching Cleveland
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Middle School Edition: 6-8

Lesson 18

A Celebration Menu


After reviewing a 19th century menu from the American Hotel for a special celebration, students will recognize the different foods that people of the 19th century enjoyed. They will also compare these foods to the foods we enjoy today.



Bill of fare, ornamental, confectioneries, game, grouse


  1. What foods were enjoyed for special occasion dinners in the 19th century?
  2. How do these foods compare with the foods of today?
  3. What information can we gather about people living in Cleveland in the 19th century by analyzing this menu?


  1. Ask students for what types of events would you have a special celebration dinner? What would they serve at such a dinner? What do they consider to be favorite foods for a special dinner?

  2. Distribute copies of The American Hotel Bill of Fare. Review the menu with the class, using the Analysis Sheet as a guide. (This activity can also be done in cooperative groups where each group has copies of the menu and analysis sheet. After they complete their research, the information can then be shared and discussed with the class.)

    *An additional activity can include students searching through current cookbooks to discover recipes for these foods, such as Charlotte Russe, "Kole Slaw", Escalloped Oysters, pyramids, tarts, etc.)

  3. Ask students to think about a special event they would like to celebrate with a special meal. What foods would they like to include? Ask them to design a menu for this occasion. Encourage them to be as creative as they would like in the design of the menu. (Many times these are kept as keepsakes as reminders of the special event.) If this is done as a cooperative group activity, groups should also decide the special event that will be celebrated and be certain to include a fact sheet of information concerning the event.

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