Meal Ephemera: Menus, Bills, & Napkins as Treasure

After a particularly great meal or superb eating experience, I treasure a little slice of that memory by saving a scrap of paper from the meal. Do you collect any dining ephemera? Brilliant ideas scrawled on restaurant napkins definitely fall under this category. Read on to hear what little odds and ends I've squirreled away for trips down memory lane...

Often times I'll use a paper menu, bill, ticket, matchbook or postcard from a great restaurant in a variety of ways. While traveling, this simple gesture can really be meaningful when you get home. For example, I have the above coffee order from a beloved bakery, Tartine in San Francisco, framed in my bedroom. I visited this wonderful establishment with my mom a few years ago, and it's a great reminder of the luscious coffee and fantastic meal we shared there.

I've never been refused a paper menu when I asked if I could keep one, and I savor my collection of menus as inspiration for home cooking as well as dinner parties. Menus are a veritable treasure trove of great ideas by acclaimed chefs, and they make beautiful wall decor in the same manner as favorite restaurant's receipt or bill.

Do you save little memories of great meals in this way? What bits of gourmande history do you love?

Related: Need Fresh Dinner Inspiration? Read a Restaurant Menu

(Image: Leela Cyd Ross)

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