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March 12, 2019

Last Dinner on the Titanic

I love history. I also love food. I love the history of food. So when I came across Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner by Rick Archbold on Amazon, it pretty much jumped into my cart and bought itself.



Lately, I've been trying to cool it on buying books... I honestly haven't been actually reading much lately, due to being busy and tired from work, and to needing bifocals (because being horribly nearsighted wasn't enough -- yay, middle age!). Right now, when reading a paper book, I have to either take my current glasses off or hold the book away from me.

But this is one book I have managed to read, and I'm so glad I got it. It's a treasure for anyone fascinated in Edwardian cuisine and/or the Titanic specifically. It has not only menus for each class, but also gives recipes. Granted, some of the recipes are by admission best guesses, but this still serves as a nifty guide if you should endeavor to put on the eleven-course first-class spread. It includes poached salmon, lamb, and filet mignon... for ONE meal. I can only figure that most ladies only ate a couple of bites of each course, or they would have never gotten through them all and would have resembled Free Willy. Edwardians actually did regard being plump as a good thing... girth meant you were rich (most people at this time literally couldn't afford to be fat, and they did a lot of physical labor).



First class menu on the night of the sinking. For some, this would be their last meal.


The second and third class dinners, while simpler and with far fewer courses, were still nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the second-class accommodations and food were equal to first class on other liners.

What readers might find puzzling is that the third class menus list meals as "breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper" instead of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is because working class people then still ate their main meal of the day ("dinner") at midday rather than in the evening. "Tea" was actually more substantial than "supper" was (third class supper was cabin biscuits, cheese, gruel, and coffee). But their earlier dinner of vegetable soup, roasted pork with sage and pearl onions with peas and potatoes, and dessert of plum pudding, doesn't sound bad at all. And given that most liners until now had required third class passengers to bring their own food, this would have been luxurious.

This book even included suggested music to play for your Titanic meal recreation, as well as instructions on presentation and table setting.

Would definitely recommend for anyone interested in food history and/or Titanic.


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