Looking for memories of the L.S. Ayres Tea Room

Written by Susan Johnson, Retail Operations Manager at the Indiana State Museum

One of the most interesting parts of my job handling retail operations for the museum is the opportunity to work with our curators and staff to develop new things to sell in the museum store. Along that line, I realized when I took over this position a few months back, that our ever popular L.S. Ayres Tea Room Cookbook is now 12 years old. Seems to me like this is a good time to put together a second edition. L.S. Ayres published hundreds of recipes in the old employee publications and newspapers through the years and I’ve had so many people ask me why certain recipes were left out of the cookbook. Cuts had to be made somewhere, I suppose, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to locate more of those old recipes to share.

This will not be a small project and it’s going to take a little time. Right now I’m shooting to have this second edition published for Mother’s Day of 2011. We’ll see if we can make that self-imposed deadline. I’ve asked a small group of people to help me out with this project so I can ensure that we move forward. Jourdan Struck, one of our new staff members with the museum store, will be helping me research and test recipes. I’ve also asked her to write about her journey for our museum blog. Jourdan is enthusiastic, loves to cook and has a journalism degree from Ball State so I’m excited to have her on board. Katherine Gould, the Assistant Curator of Cultural History for the Indiana State Museum, is helping us wade through several boxes of old Ayres documents and photographs from the archives to help us in our search for unpublished recipes. Along the way she will be scanning recipes and old menus for our digital archives. I’m also happy to say that Head Chef Jon Michael Gioe, with the L.S. Ayres Tea Room at the museum, has volunteered to help us out along the way with testing and interpreting the recipes we find. He’ll give this second edition some cooking credibility.

Along with collecting recipes and articles about the Tea Room for our second edition, we’re also going to take this opportunity to collect some Tea Room memories from our visitors that we might add to the book. So please, if you have any old recipes from the Tea Room or a memory you’d like to share, please let us know. I’m sure we can use all the help we can get.

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7 Responses

  1. My comment is really a question. There is a restaurant in Deland, FL that serves Chicken Velvet soup and says they have a patent on the recipe. Does the former LS Ayres also have a patent? I am interested in updates on the Ayres Tearoom Recipe Book. Thank you.

  2. Hoping to visit the L.S. Ayres Tea Room in July,2010.
    My fond memories were I represented my high school(Harry E. Wood HS-1961) on the L.S. Ayres Teen Board. One of our projects was to organize a Fashion Show using students from our schools. After the show, which was held on a runway on the Teen Floor, my High School Principle Mr. Emery and Mother took me to the Tea Room for Lunch. I’m sure there are other Teen Age girls who are in their 60’s now with memories of the Teen Board, and working with the Fashion Directors at L.S. Ayres preparing for their Fashion Show.

  3. If you publish a second cookbook, PLEASE include the cheese puffs. One was served on the plate with the tiny frozen fruit salad. I’ve been looking for that recipe for years, and would love to purchase it if possible.
    Please do let me know if such a ‘purchase’ is possible. Thanks!

  4. I loved the ice cram princess dessert. I don’t know what they put on the ice cream, it was both beautiful and delicious. Can anyone tell me how to make it.

  5. I have fond memories of eating in the Tea Room and having my lunch served in a small stove brought to the table-possibly some chicken casserole served in a dish shaped like a chicken. Another great memory- my Shortridge High School Latin teacher, Miss Lee, took me and another friend , Elizabeth Sharp, to tea there. We had swans swimming in creme de menthe with ice cream. This of course was MANY years ago!!!

  6. A trip to the tea room was the ultimate reward for significant events throughout my years at P.S. 46 and Shortridge H.S. It was a chance to dress up and of course we wore hats and gloves. The chicken salad and the frozen fruit salad were my favorites.
    When I went away to college in 1952, no vacation was complete without a trip to shop at Ayres and to eat lunch in the Tearoom.

  7. The chicken dish Judy was mentioning is the “Henny Penny” that was my favorite as a child. My brother and I would have the “Carousel” dessert.

    I am trying to find the Chicken casserole dish…Any ideas on where to look? any Vintage Ayres dishware left?

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