I think most of us are aware April 2012 marked the centenary of the fateful night when the RMS Titanic sank. We know the story – this was a huge cruise ship which was professed to be unsinkable. It was, at the time, an extraordinary achievement – a modern, well fitted out ship which was designed to provided accommodation for a diverse range of passengers from the rich and famous, through the middle classes, to the lowly workers and their families who had saved avidly for months from their meagre income in order to travel to pastures new lookng for a better quality of life.
The ship offered the most luxurious passage for those rich enough to travel First Class, and catered well for their staff in Second Class. Second Class was also aimed at the middle classes some of whom were aspiring to strike it rich on far distant shores and, last but not least, in Third Class you would find the hard working but deprived families looking for better living and working conditions and were afforded an ideal opportunity to get away from the impoverished, dirty, disease ridden city backstreets with their tightly packed terraces and tenements in the smoky industrial towns.
By today’s standards, we consider the third class passengers got a pretty raw deal after parting with their hard earned cash in order to make the voyage. Whole families were ultimately herded below deck into tiny “cells” for the duration of the journey, but for many, the voyage was not only going to be the adventure of a lifetime but the conditions in steerage were sometimes better than they had been enduring in their ill equipped and lowly housing back home. For instance, they had running water and access to indoor toilets.
The same could be said of the food. A few menus have survived the disaster and, having done a bit of research, I found it interesting to see the difference in food available between the three classes. Menus were changed regularly but, to give you some idea of what food was enjoyed on the ship, I’ve set out below some of the things that were on offer over the journey.
The first class passengers of course got a large menu with numerous courses; the second class passengers got a choice of good quality but relatively basic food – much as we eat today – and, surprisingly, the menus for third class passengers, although poor in comparison to the food offered to the higher classes, were exceptionally good and in the majority of cases, the food was considerably better than the passengers had been able to enjoy on land.
So what did the passengers eat?
First Class Dining Room
The first class passengers had an extensive menu. Breakfast would have consisted of a diverse selection of dishes such as baked fruit, fresh fruit, porridge, fish, mixed grills (kidneys, bacon, ham, sausage), eggs, omelette, bread rolls, scones, conserves, honey and marmalade
Published in: Cooking