Monday, April 2, 2012

Titanic Food and Drink | Meg North | Victorian | Edwardian | Author


The Titanic had an extensive Edwardian menu filled with rich dishes the wealthy loved to eat. Dining on multiple course meals several times a day required dozens of chefs and cooks. There were fish cooks, executive cooks, vegetable cooks, pastry chefs, roast cooks, entr?e cooks, grill cooks, larder cooks, and bakers. Whew. Read more about Titanic?s cooks, as well as the Carpathia?s cooks.

Oh, and can?t forget the drinks, either. This ship was built by the Irish! Haha, as an Irish girl myself, I can crack a joke about it. According to the above menu, iced draft Munich Lager beer served in tankards was available. But beer was far from the only thing consumed onboard.

According to the ship?s manifest, the drink order included 1,500 bottles of wine, 15,000 champagne glasses, 20,000 bottles of beer and stout, and at least 850 bottles of spirits. The cargo manifest reveals further reserves of 17 cases of cognac, 70 cases of wine and 191 cases of liquor. Don?t forget the personal drinks the passengers brought with them. Holy moly, those Edwardians could knock ?em down.

One of the strangest and semi-mythical stories about Titanic is about her executive chef: Charles Joughin. This lucky fellow is depicted in the 1997 film as the guy hanging off the rail beside Jack and Rose, a flask in hand and chef toque on his head. Did alcohol really keep him warm in the waters?

Whether or not the drinking is true, Joughin lived to tell the tale and according to friends and letters, maintained his tippler habit as well. It reminds me of the funny quote: ?I love to cook with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the sauce!?

I?m looking forward to the Titanic Conference in Springfield, MA from April 20 to 22. On Saturday night, we?re having an authentic formal dinner party with Titanic dishes. I?ll take pictures and post them here after I return.

And in the spirit of Titanic?s Irish heritage, here is a classic drinking song:

Our ship lies at anchor; she?s ready to dock.

I wish her safe landing without any shock.

And if ever I should meet you by land or by sea ?

I will always remember your kindness to me.

So here?s a health to the company and one to my lass.

Let?s be drink and be merry all out of one glass.

Let?s be drink and be merry all brief to refrain

For we may or might never all meet here again.

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