Capitalization thoughts for a menu

New Here ,
May 18, 2009 May 18, 2009

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I work part-time for a local restaurant in an accounting capacity and recently they asked me to redesign their bar menu. I'm enjoying the creative process of designing a pleasing look for the menu but I'm struggling with capitalization of menu item descriptions. Currently the menu is inconsistent with capitalizing words which I know is wrong, but I'm not sure what is the best way to go.

All menu items have a heading that is capitalized like "Salmon Sandwich" and then the description below will say "Grilled salmon, Applewood smoked bacon with Swiss cheese. Or, "Reuben Sandwich" —"Classic Reuben with corned beef, sauerkraut and swiss on rye with Russian dressing." Should swiss be capitalized, should Russian be capitalized, should something like Ortega chili be capitalized? Should Shitake mushroom be capitalized?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

Patty

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Guide , May 20, 2009 May 20, 2009

pattyclarke wrote:


So unless we're serving seared "Wanda" no capitals.

LOL !  Good one, Patty. 

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Community Expert ,
May 19, 2009 May 19, 2009

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Patty, as I see it,

The menu items function as names so capitalization of both/all (main) words is fine.

The description should follow normal capitalization rules so that nationalities (Swiss, Russian, etc), proper names, week/month denominations, etc, should be capitalized, other words not (unless first word).

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New Here ,
May 19, 2009 May 19, 2009

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Thanks for the input Jacob. The usual rules of capitalization don't seem to be consistent in menus. For instance, I've been looking at menus from other restaurants and Swiss cheese has not been capitalized. In Word, it suggests capitalizing for Swiss but not for shitake. It suggests capitalizing Ortega, so it just seems a little confusing.

Thanks,

Patty

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Guide ,
May 19, 2009 May 19, 2009

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Jacob,

As a tangential topic, the names of days, weeks, months, and adjectives and names denoting nationalities or languages are never capitalized in Spanish, unless they're the first word in a sentence: inglés, francés, danés, español, alemán, ruso, lunes, martes, domingo, enero, febrero, mayo, etc.  Names of countries are, of course.

Just in case you run into a job in Spanish. 

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New Here ,
May 19, 2009 May 19, 2009

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Ramon,

Not exactly sure of the point you were making (had to look up what tangential meant), but I'm thinking that whatever direction I follow needs to be consistent throughout the menu. That said, here's another example that puzzles me.

Ahi Salad

Seared rare ahi over Sonoma greens with an Asian vinaigrette

I'm thinking that Ahi is a proper name of a fish and should be capitalized. I didn't know what "Sonoma greens" were so I googled it and it seems to be a blend of different lettuce stuff, but if that's its proper name then shouldn't it be Sonoma Greens.

Patty

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Guide ,
May 19, 2009 May 19, 2009

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pattyclarke wrote:

Ramon,

Not exactly sure of the point you were making

Patty,

My post was in reply to Jacob's and was specifically addressed to him.  Sorry if that confused you.  It has absolutely nothing to do with your question.

Jacob often weighs in on issues related to languages, I know he understands my point.  You can safely ignore it, unless you happen to encounter a menu in Spanish in the future, for a Spanish restaurant.

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Guide ,
May 19, 2009 May 19, 2009

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pattyclarke wrote:

Ahi Salad

Seared rare ahi over Sonoma greens with an Asian vinaigrette

I'm thinking that Ahi is a proper name of a fish and should be capitalized. I didn't know what "Sonoma greens" were so I googled it and it seems to be a blend of different lettuce stuff, but if that's its proper name then shouldn't it be Sonoma Greens.

If you capitalize greens in Sonoma Greens, wouldn't you then have to capitalize vinaigrette in Asian Vinaigrette?

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New Here ,
May 20, 2009 May 20, 2009

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And so my quandry continues... I don't know the answer and consistency seems more out of reach as I ponder the issues.

Patty

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Guide ,
May 20, 2009 May 20, 2009

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pattyclarke wrote:

Ahi Salad

Seared rare ahi over Sonoma greens with an Asian vinaigrette

To me that looks perfect.  Ahi Salad gets capitalized because it's the title of the dish, but I see no need or justification for capitalizing anything other than the first word, Sonoma and Asian in the description.

Just my ¢2.

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Community Expert ,
May 20, 2009 May 20, 2009

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Patty,

There may be a day where the present capitalization rules will be considered oldfashioned/outdated, especially in American English, Eurospeak, and other non British versions of English.

The only proper name of a fish that I know is Wanda, and I have not even seen the film; I am quite sure there is at least one named Disney fish, too. And then there is Bambi.

Names of species are not proper names. Specific, especially new and exciting, dishes, kinds of plants, etc, may have what is considered a proper name.

So this is no easier than correct hyphenation.

And what Ramón said.

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New Here ,
May 20, 2009 May 20, 2009

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Okay, I understand what you're saying about fish spieces. So unless we're serving seared "Wanda" no capitals. That makes sense.

Thanks Jacob and Ramon for your help.

Patty

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Guide ,
May 20, 2009 May 20, 2009

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pattyclarke wrote:


So unless we're serving seared "Wanda" no capitals.

LOL !  Good one, Patty. 

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New Here ,
May 20, 2009 May 20, 2009

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Thanks, always good to close with a laugh.

Patty

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