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While most fairgoers enjoyed a hot dog and a Coke, more adventuresome foodees, often with deep pockets, could explore the world's cuisine in the international pavilions.

The fair's international pavilions provided "ham-and-egg patriots" and true gourmets the "golden gastronomical opportunity" of a lifetime. New York, nor any other American city, probably ever experienced such a variety of authentic, excellent foreign fare within such a small and convenient area. A noted food critic estimated it would take "a serious winer-and-diner eight days at the rate of two meals a day" to cover the fair's foodstuffs.

The following tour of many of the foreign pavilion restaurants will certainly whet twenty-first century appetites.


Patrons entered the restaurant over a low bridge spanning a flower-edged pool with fountains. The glass-walled restaurant offered chicken with rice as its most popular national dish. Patrons could prepare their own steaks on small, fireproof charcoal burners brought to each table. A fascinating dessert titled "Little Drunkards" turned out to be sponge cake soaked in anise-flavored cognac then set aflame tableside. Gertrude Green acted as purchasing manager for the restaurant, one of the rare women to fulfill that role on the fairgrounds.


The Belgium restaurant offered baby eels, no bigger than toothpicks, chicken in the pot Flemish style, and Hochpot Gantoir, the Belgian equivalent of a New England boiled dinner, which took fifty-minutes to prepare. Burgundies were offered as the featured wine.

The terrace restaurant reminded many diners of the deck of a dream liner that never left the docks. The wind often caught the yellow and blue tablecloths to further the illusion.

The restaurant provided one of the finest views for the evening fireworks and music display on the Lagoon of Nations. To that end, many patrons selected tables around 5:00, partaking of pastry and coffee, rather than cocktails, until the 9:00 performance.

Czecho - Slovakia

The Czech pavilion provided two dining experiences, a garden location and the air conditioned Old Prague Restaurant designed in dark wood and wrought iron. Karel Jezek, the former owner of a famous Prague hotel, managed the restaurant. The pavilion's most popular drink was Pilsener Urquell beer. As war worries increased, Mr. Jezek reassured patrons the restaurant possessed ample supplies of the beer until the end of the fair's season


Eiler Jorgensen directed the upstairs Danish restaurant. Mr. Jorgensen claimed he had not had a drink of water for two years. Having joined La Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastovin, an exclusive wine-tasting society, membership required a vow to drink only wine.

At the restaurant's opening, a guest exclaimed, "Ah, smorgasbord!" Mr. Jorgensen replied: "Heavens, no! That is American food. We will have a real smorgasbord Friday after the next ship comes in from Copenhagen."

Actually, the Danish referred to their "smorgasbord" as the kolde bord. The Danish version differed from the neighboring Swedes as only cold dishes appeared on the kolde bord. At either lunch or dinner the cost was $2.50.

When patrons complained the plates provided were too small to hold all the delicacies they wished to sample, Mr. Jorgensen advised them to overcome their bashfulness and make a second and third trip. He suggested fish and egg dishes first and then a return trip for meats and cold cuts. A sampling of cheese would entail the third visit.

Emilie Andersen, known as the best cold-table chef in Denmark, served as one of the rare female chefs at the fair. Mrs. Anderson often prepared no less than fifty offerings for the kolde bord. The dishes sat on beds of artificial snow. Mr. Jorgenson declared rich food made sweet dispositions. He revealed Mrs. Andersen used sixteen eggs to prepare a pint of ice cream and counted on four egg yolks per person in mayonnaise.

Even though the Danish restaurant was air conditioned, patrons suffering from the midsummer heat often opted for its cooling buttermilk soup. A favorite dessert choice was Roedgroed, crushed fresh berries served with heavy cream. When Eleanor Roosevelt visited, she informed readers of her My Day column: "We couldn't resist tasting it."

A glass of Cherry Heering proved a memorable Danish liqueur. Waiters served brandy in a block of ice. And the bartender developed a special world's fair cocktail, "The Little Mermaid," a powerful blend of aquavit and rye.

The Danish restaurant became very popular with Broadway personalities. Frederick March and his wife Florence Eldridge reserved a weekly table, as did Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.


Mr. and Mrs. Alva Aato, the pavilion designers, located the restaurant on two tiers overlooking the entire exhibit area. Three divisions of Finnish life-country, people and industries could be seen from the tables. Sibelius symphonies wafted through the air.

Mr. Palcheimo, the pavilion's assistant commissioner, explained "Bounded as we are by so many other countries, our food tastes have been influenced by all of them, but we have our own specialties, of course." One such the restaurant served was the nation's favorite hors d'oeuvres; smoked reindeer meat on toast prepared from an assortment of rye breads. The poronpaisti sandwich featured reindeer meat, an egg, tomato and watercress garnish on rye for fifty cents.


Gypsy musicians enlivened the upstairs dining room. Waitresses informed patrons that paprika, the main ingredient in many of the restaurant's offerings, was "The Soul of Hungary."


The pavilion named its restaurant The Garden of Eden. Officials at the restaurant insisted Eve tempted Adam with a date. The term for the fruit came from "dactyl," meaning hand. An ancient legend told that when God finished Adam some soil clung to His hand and He molded it into a date palm. Dates were prominently featured in most offerings at The Garden.


Luigi Carnacina directed the Italian restaurant. Mr. Carnacina managed some of Italy's finest restaurant and headed the prize – winning Italian Restaurant at the 1937 Paris exposition. Although the restaurant served exquisite cuisine, patrons continued to order the familiar ravioli and spaghetti.

Jewish Palestine

The pavilion named its restaurant after the only all Jewish city in the modern world, the Café Tel Aviv. Young ladies carried jugs of wine and baskets of fruit to the tables. The Café Tel Aviv seated three hundred people per sitting and was the only kosher restaurant on the fairgrounds.


The snack bar in the pavilion's fisheries section offered "The Catch of Norway" – its famous Norwegian Bristling. Thora Grahl – Nielsen served as manager of the snack bar. As the fair approached its closing, Ms. Grahl – Nielsen, tired after six months of the snack bar's sandwiches, explained she longed for a traditional Sunday dinner of codfish and had already telegraphed that request back home.


The restaurant opened at 10:00 A.M. and closed at midnight. Red chairs and settees, with a seating capacity of 600, allowed comfortable seating under the neon figures that graced the ceiling.

Because the base price for a standard meal fell around $1.50, the restaurant reported a weekly loss of $500. A meal might include a typical Polish appetizer of assorted cheeses served with radishes or an orchid-colored frigid blackberry soup followed by the popular entre Calf's Brains Polonaise, cooked brains served with chopped hard-boiled eggs and butter.

Food mavens attributed the flavor the Polish hams served at the fair to the feed supplied to the hogs; potatoes, milk, buttermilk, barley, and rye bran. The chefs complained many of their dishes tasted unusual as the sour cream in the United States had a different consistency.

Diners often ended the meal with a taste from one of five bottles of Tokay, "The Oldest Beverage in the World."


Basile, the restaurant's maitre d'hotel, generally recommended either Musaca, hashed beef and eggplant, or Sarmale, stuffed cabbage to hungry patrons. Mamliga, or what Americans referred to as corn meal mush, served as the base for many of the entrees. Wines came from the Domain of the Crown, King Carol's private vineyard. Georges Stefanesca entertained patrons on the naia, twenty-two bamboo pipes sent in a curved base. Stefanesca insited he was one of only four men in the world who could play this unusual instrument.


For Americans who loved Welsh rarebit, the Swiss recommended their version, Quckes Lucernoise. Famed for their fish dishes, the restaurant offered Truite Club des Gourmets, trout stuffed with mushrooms and paprika sauce and poached in white wine. Many Americans found the Swiss recipe for fondue the same as in the United States: cheese, white wine and kirsch.


The Byzantine beauty of the Star and Crescent restaurant was reason enough to dine there. Countering the Iraqi restaurant's claim, Dr. Emin Yalman, head of the Turkish Bureau of Information, proudly pointed to a mural depicting The Garden of Eden located in Turkey where Eve handed Adam a fig.

The wide variety of hors d'oeuvres (mussels, grapes, artichokes, black olives, cheese fritters and cucumbers) required a bowl of toothpicks.

The featured entrée was Midya Dolma, mussels stuffed with rice, nuts and currents. A glass of Raki normally ended the meal. Another name for raki was "Lion's Milk," the thrice – distilled white grape juice flavored with anise. A waiter explained the unusual name: "One drink makes you feel like a lion, a second like a fox, and the third like an ass."


The Soviets located their restaurant on the highest floor of their pavilion. An elevator whisked patrons to their destination. The air conditioned room featured indirect lighting, paneled walls in heavy -grained Russian hardwood lined with mirrors, and silver table service. The restaurant extended onto a terrace overlooking the Lagoon of Nations.

Feodor K. Kirichenko and three other chefs from Moscow's Novo Moskovskaya Hotel created the restaurant's daily cuisine.

Most of the dishes at the restaurant had long names printed in Russian but only cost about seventy-five cents for lunch and $1.10 for a three-course dinner. Interestingly borscht in Russian simply meant soup, not the red beet variety common in the United States. To place an order for the more popular American version required patrons to request borscht borscht.

While some restaurants added an automatic ten to fifteen percent on their food bills, the Soviets demurred. All guests received cards stating: "Our employees are adequately compensated. Following Soviet custom, please do not give tips." Adequate compensation meant $35.00 per week per waitress. Also according to Soviet principles, dinner reservations were not accepted.