California Zephyr 1955 Menu

We’re going back in time, as today’s dinner menu is from January, 1955, as opposed to yesterday’s March, 1957 menu. The two use similar type faces and are about the same size, but are laid out differently: the 1955 one unfolds vertically, while the 1957 menus unfold horizontally.

Click image to download a 1.0-MB PDF of this menu. Like yesterday’s menu, the original had holes punched in it by the Rio Grande Commissary, but I repaired these with Photoshop.

This menu offers five entrées: trout, veal chop, turkey, leg of lamb, and sirloin steak, each available table d’hôte or (except for the steak) a la carte. Of these, the veal and sirloin steak were on the March, 1957 menu while the trout and leg of lamb were on the April, 1957 menu, suggesting that the railroads had a dozen or so items that they used in rotation.

While the 1957 menus had six entrées, the 1955 menu also had a “plate dinner” with beef short ribs including potatoes, vegetable, rolls, dessert, and beverage. Like the table d’hôte dinners, this is a complete meal but short ribs did not appear on the a la carte side.

Prices were a little lower in 1955: the sirloin steak dinner was $4.50 instead of $4.75 as it was in 1957. The difference almost exactly accounts for inflation between the two years.

Leave a Reply