Found this ancient nytimes article randomly googling. Fascinating stuff. The writer (Laura Smith) writes to explain to ny times readers what a Menu is. Apparently the concept of menu was freaking people out, as something french and newfangled. Whereas previously, I guess patrons had no choice in what food they got. She also was defending the adoption of french food in US restaurants and hotels, which many Americans apparently were taking offense at. To think of a time when French was new-fangled. Yet, the author is still impressively cosmopolitan. She is familiar with Chinese and Japanese food. And expects the reader to know what curry is.
She also makes the interesting/good point that we find it natural to use italian for music terms (We still do today) why not french for food terms.
Even the title is interesting: "Why the French Menu Has Become So Universally Popular; American Woman Tells Why They Should Continue in Favor. Easy to Understand Even If One Does Not Know French."
I remember reading the Jan 1, 2000 nytimes, which reprinted the front page from Jan 1, 1900. Which had a front page story about a poor manhattan women who got lost across the brooklyn bridge and spent an afternoon lost in brooklyn before a nice policeman helped her find her way home.