A year ago today I was fortunate enough to attend a dinner commemorating the centenary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. It wasn’t just any dinner, but a complete re-enactment of the last dinner that was served to the First Class Passengers on that fateful night. So today to mark the 101st anniversary I thought I’d share some photographs from the evening.
First I should mention that I do have a bit of a “Titanic thing”. If you have any interest in history then it is hard not to get caught up in the story of the world’s most famous shipwreck. However what I find the most fascinating about the Titanic is the sheer amount that we know about her short career. If not for the iceberg then I suspect she would’ve ended up in a scrapyard like her sister ship the RMS Olympic and all but absent from popular memory. Instead the story of the Titanic has been immortalized by historians, writers, researchers and film makers. I can even say that I’ve made my own tiny contribution to the historical record – last year some History Geek research made headlines in New Zealand.
There is simply no equivalent. We know more details about the Titanic and her crew than we do any other ship from that era. Through that research we can better understand and appreciate everything from the history of immigration and transportation to fashion and social structure. Also cuisine.
As my regular readers already know, I’m a collector of maritime ephemera including vintage ship menus. Previously I’ve shared the stories behind menus from the Dutch liners Nieuw Zeeland and Nieuw Holland. So as a collector of vintage menus it was a chance of a lifetime for me to actually partake in some of the dishes that were served to passengers on the Titanic.
The menu was as close as possible to the original meal served to First Class Passengers on April 14th 1912. The main variance is that some dishes that would’ve been served separately were condensed into single courses. Here it goes:
First Course: Shucked and shelled oysters served on a zesty salsa with a hint of coriander
The array of cutlery was intimidating to myself and most of the my fellow 21st century diners but the advice given to Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’ saw us right – “Just start at the outside and work your way in”. Continue reading