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The unsinkable Titanic sank April 14, 1912

Two weeks after the January 13th grounding of the “unsinkable” Costa Concordia search efforts continue and more stories surface about this modern tragedy. Ironically, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titantic is approaching on April 14, 2012.

As a foodie who loves history, I see this milestone as a way to gather friends and pay homage to lives lost in a tragic accident.

If you would like to host your own tribute event, there are menus and recipes to help you feel like the Mistress of Downton Abbey. The show, as you may know, opens with news of the sinking of the ship which directly affects the Crawley family.

The Crawleys learn of their loss

As an aside, Julian Fellowes fans will be hungrily anticipating the release of the new ITV series Titanic 2012, which will start airing in this Spring. While Downton fans loved to hate Maria Doyle Kennedy as the evil Vera Bates, I look forward to cheering for her character on Titanic, at least I hope she gets to play a heroine.

Original menus help you plan

It is fortunate that menus survived the disaster, and I hope my blog will help you in your preparations. There were three classes of passengers on the ship, so there are other options for your event and if you aren’t a purist you can simply mix and match. Follow links to the 1st and 2nd class menus.

3rd Class Menu

What steerage passengers ate their last day

The third class menu is essentially a traditional roast beef dinner which shouldn’t be too intimidating for any host. Here is a break out of the 3rd class (steering) menu which was served that last evening. While meager in comparison to 1st and 2nd class, the quality of food in 3rd class was likely better than what these passengers would have eaten at home.

This option makes sense for a younger crowd at a local haunt where you can celebrate the fun and frivolity the third class passengers shared below decks (as depicted in James Cameron’s version of events). I attended a steerage party with some girlfriends a number of years ago at restaurant/night club in an historical building. It was alot of fun and the food was pretty good.

Come back regularly to check for items in red on this chart which indicate links to actual recipes.

First Course
Rice Soup
Main Course
Fresh Bread
Cabin Biscuits
Roast Beef, Brown Gravy
Dessert Course
Plum Pudding

Mrs. Beeton’s Rice Soup

A simple soup, before students discovered Raman noodles! This recipe is from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published in 1861.  I love the way she throws things into the mix!

INGREDIENTS – 4 oz. of Patna rice, salt, cayenne, and mace, 2 quarts of white (chicken) stock.

Mode.—Throw the rice into boiling water, and let it remain 5 minutes; then pour it into a sieve, and allow it to drain well. Now add it to the stock boiling, and allow it to stew till it is quite tender; season to taste. Serve quickly.

For your Collection

If you do want to try other recipes, and particularly if you are a cook book collector, you may wish to grab a copy of this great cookbook which is available at Amazon: Last Dinner Titanic Menus And Recipes From The Great Liner [Madison Press Books, Toronto. 144 pages].

No judgement here if your idea of tribute is buying a new version (who did I loan our copy to?) of James Cameron’s Titanic (Widescreen), with a bag of popcorn (they did eat popcorn in those days).

Handy Conversion Table

If these measurements don’t make sense to you, refer to this chart