A Sampling of the last First Class Menu served on The Titanic.
On the night of April 14th 1912, first class passengers of the Titanic sat down to enjoy an exquisite 10 course meal not knowing it would be their last. Passengers in second and third class also enjoyed rich meals though not nearly as elaborate. Luckily for us copies of each menu from the last night were recovered from the wreck in good condition. It is unknown exactly how all of the dishes were prepared and what precisely was in each one as tragically, none of the great chefs aboard the ship lived to tell the tail. However food historians have used their knowledge of the time period and ingredients available on the ship to give us a pretty good idea of the dishes these passengers got to savour before their untimely end. Tonight, I have condensed and modernized these extensive menus into five courses for you to enjoy.
Oysters A La Russe
When the titanic embarked on its journey it was said to have carried 1221 quarts of fresh oysters, for only the first class passengers to enjoy. ‘A La Russe’ refers to the vodka infused salsa it was served with.
Cream of Barley Soup
This soup was one of the two options in the second course of the first class menu. It is reminiscent of beef barley soup but was partly purred (for elegance). Similar puréed rice soups were served in the two lower classes but were much simpler.
Fillet Minion Lilli , Zucchini Farrci, Creamed Carrots and Green Peas
Fillet minion Lili is a lavish beef dish traditionally comprising of a tender fillet, topped with foie grass and shaved black truffles. It was served atop Potatoes Anna (thinly sliced potatoes pan fried until crisp). I have modernized the dish by replacing the foie gras with a herbed hollandaise mouseline and the truffles with red wine braised mushrooms. Passengers in all classes were often served carrots and peas, (traditional English vegetables) the way in which they were prepared did vary in simplicity. The zucchini farci is a slight variation of the vegetable marrow farci served in first class, it is essentially a stuffed summer squash,(vegetable marrow is a kind of squash similar to the zucchini). Those in second and third class would have been served a much simpler roast beef dinner with boiled potatoes.
Chilled Asparagus vinaigrette
with roasted peppers and a champagne-saffron vinaigrette.
Imported saffron would have been a luxury for only the wealthy to enjoy, and the champagne vinaigrette is no less then lux. This would have been the eighth of ten courses nested between roast squab with watercress and Foie gras pâté with celery.
Plum Pudding with Waldorf Custard
Plum pudding is a very traditional English dessert and was featured on both the second and third class menus. I have stayed true to the original recipe by using beef suet as the fat, this adds an airiness not provided by butter or shortening. Served in first class was Pudding Waldorf, the exact nature of this dish remains a mystery as the recipe was lost in the sinking. Some will argue it was a custard style pudding some will say it was a steamed cake style. Most agree that it probably contained the ingredients found in Waldorf salad (walnuts, apples, and raisins), this is my spin on a lost recipe.
Chef: Kendra Simmonds of Salt & Sparkles
Though I started cooking at a very young age my first experience in a professional kitchen was at age 16 on a student exchange to France. Here I was fortunate enough to live and work with a true French Chef, who taught me all the basics of a French kitchen. In high school I began my apprenticeship at a local fine dining restaurant, I attended culinary school at both Humber and George Brown colleges, graduating this past summer. My interest in historical cooking began when I worked in the kitchen at the Campbell House Museum. Here I worked with many great chefs and historians that taught me about all kinds of modern and historical food. This is where I held my first Sous Chef and eventually Chef position, writing daily menus, serving lunch, and catering all kinds of events. After this I took a step back and wanted to complete my apprenticeship training. I was then able to gain a position as an apprentice at Jamie Kennedy kitchens. There I learned so many things about all aspects of the professional kitchen and wonderful world of food. Since leaving there I have been growing my own catering company, Salt & Sparkles, and continue to work on achieving my red seal.
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