This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Strictly speaking these words are not of quite the same significance. The menu is the fare, the bill of fare is to tell what the fare consists of; the menu is the "lay out," the bill of fare is the itemized description of the " lay-out," as if one should say, "this is my library; this is the catalogue of my library." People meet and discuss or enjoy the menu or fare, but they do not discuss the bill of fare. Nevertheless, by the elasticity of language, menu is used in the same sense as bill of fare, and either word may be chosen with propriety; menu is thought to be the more stylish of the two and is oftenest preferred now to head the dinner list. In this connection it may not be out of place to remark that cuisine also has a double sense, meaning both kitchen and cooking; la cuisine is the kitchen, but when it is said that any hotel is noted for its excellence of its cuisine it implies the other meaning of the word - cooking. Many hotels reject the use of both menu and bill of fare, and head their bills with the word "Dinner." Others, again, follow the mothod of the annexed example and make the announcement of table d'hote (which is equivalent to our plain American "regular dinner") do duty instead of either term.
In regard to the examples of bills of fare here to be found, it must be explained that they are taken up by chance from a very large collection and are neither selected as models or otherwise, but are only the first that came to hand which happen to illustrate the particular point under consideration.
Thursday, February 4, 1886.
Table D' Hote 5 To 7 O'clock Including Wine, $1.00.
Stewed tomatoes Mashed potatoes.
Assorted cakes Strawberry ice cream.
MeMoc French coffee English cheece.
The very choicest selection of Cigars to Be found in the City, for sale in Cafe.
JOHN M. OTTER, Manager.