Most helpful positive review
65 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating and full of surprises
on April 30, 2001
One of the key surprises in this book is the fact that third-class passengers on the Titanic ate better than we do. A large color photograph on page 114 shows a water stained menu recovered from the body of a third-class passenger.
It says that the third-class breakfast on the morning of April 12, 1912 was oatmeal porridge and milk, smoked herrings, jacket potatoes, tripe and onions, fresh something something (seawater has eaten away the print) and butter, marmalade and (illegible again) bread. Beverages were tea and coffee.
Who eats a more nutritious breakfast now?
Dinner in the third-class dining saloon was vegetable soup (made from scratch), roasted pork with sage and onions, green peas, boiled potatoes, plum pudding with sweet sauce, cabin biscuits and (a real delicacy for the time) oranges. When was the last time you had a plum pudding with sweet sauce or vegetable soup made from scratch? If it's been too long, you can make these and other things on the third-class dinner or tea menu, using recipes in this book.
Titanic's third-class accommodations were clean and comfortable and its two dining saloons were white and well lit. They had to be. The Titanic expected to compete with many other ships for the trade of millions of immigrants bound for America. And that's where the White Star steamship line hoped to make its money, not from the flashier passengers in first- and second-class.
Food in second-class was pretty grand, rather like a middle-class family's Sunday dinner when somebody important was expected to visit. A second-class menu for April 14, 1912 says that the first course was consomme with tapioca. Second course offered a choice from among baked haddock with sharp sauce, curried chicken and rice, lamb with mint sauce or roast turkey with savory cranberry sauce. Side dishes were turnip puree, green peas, boiled rice and boiled or roast potatoes. Turnip puree was delicious, actually, judging by its recipe. The dessert course in second class offered more choices than the third-class menu, but plum pudding and sweet sauce were there, just as in third-class.
The book gives recipes for anything in these first, second and third courses which really needs a recipe. There is even a recipe for making a special second-class dessert delicacy: American Ice Cream.
First-class meals were spectacular, and they were served in a variety of cafes, saloons, restaurants and reception rooms. You'd prefer the meals in first class to those in third- or second-class. You can trust me on this.
And so, another pleasant surprise is that the book gives menus and recipes for a vast, complete first-class dinner which you can make for yourself and some especially fortunate friends. Plus, there's a two-page make-ahead chart. It tells how to divide your dinner-making chores into several groups, starting three days before dinner.