Four days into its maiden voyage, from Southampton, England to New York City, the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg at about 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912. Just a little less than two and a half hours later, in the early morning hours, the British liner met its untimely end. As a result, a devastating 1,500 passengers and crew tragically perished.
In the hours before the disaster, unaware of their fate, passengers would eerily partake in their last supper. But based on class, that final meal looked vastly different.
The Last Meal For First-Class Passengers
A one-way voyage in a luxury suite cost £4,350, nearly $7,000 at the time. Today, that’s the equivalent of over $100,000. As one can imagine, the food that comes with such a price is undoubtedly top of the line.
While most of the articles on the Titanic were lost on that fateful evening, two first-class menus were found among the wreckage. Therefore, the menus were preserved and published in The Last Dinner on the Titanic.
History.com reports that the most well-to-do guests aboard the Titanic enjoyed a 10-course meal, with each paired with wine that evening.
Consommé Olga (veal stock soup flavored with sturgeon marrow)
Cream of Barley
Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce, Cucumbers
Filet Mignons Lili
Sauté of Chicken, Lyonnaise
Vegetable Marrow Farci
Lamb, Mint Sauce
Roast Duckling, Apple Sauce
Sirloin of Beef, Chateau Potatoes
Parmentier & Boiled New Potatoes
Punch Romaine (a combination of wine, rum, and champagne used to cleanse the palate)
Roast Squab & Cress
Cold Asparagus Vinaigrette
Pate de Foie Gras
Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly
Chocolate & Vanilla Eclairs
French Ice Cream
The dessert course was followed by an extensive selection of fruits, nuts, and cheeses. After nibbling on these snacks, diners were served coffee, port, cigars, and cordials. To conclude, first-class gentleman retired to the smoking room to enjoy cigars and after-dinner drinks. If passengers preferred, they could gather in the elegant, horseshoe-shaped reception room and enjoy conversation, fine music, and dancing.
There is no denying that Titanic’s last menu is haunting, truly a meal to die for. But, how about the second and third-class menus? How do they compare?
The Titanic’s Second And Third Class Last Meals
White Star Line kitchen staff worked nearly continuously to provide passengers with more than 6,000 meals each day. Although second-class meals were not superlatively lavish, passengers could expect delicious meals as the ship was fitted with the best culinary facilities of the time. Further, second-class passengers shared dining galleys with first-class passengers, so second-class diners likely enjoyed first-class dining without wine pairings.
Sadly, third-class passengers didn’t fare as well. In spite of some hearty and warming dishes, gruel is listed as their last meal on that fateful evening. Let’s take a look at the full menu.
Choice Of Main
Baked Haddock, Sharp Sauce
Spring Lamb, Mint Sauce
Roast Turkey, Cranberry Sauce
Green Peas, Puree Turnips, Boiled Rice and Roast Potatoes
American Ice Cream
Assorted Nuts, Fresh Fruit, Cheese, Biscuits, Coffee
Gruel (cooked oatmeal or cornmeal of a thin consistency boiled in milk or water)
It’s important to note that the third-class dining menu includes both dinner and supper. It’s also worth noting that the third-class dinner is significantly more elaborate. A roast beef dinner is on the menu, along with a brown gravy and a plum pudding to end the meal.
According to Dictionary.com, “Up until the mid-1800s, dinner referred to a midday meal, while supper served as a light evening meal for those needing additional nutrition after a hard day’s work.” Therefore, this may explain why the third class menu lists dinner as a midday meal rather than a luncheon.
Despite this note, it’s quite a stark difference in the meals served to the ultra-wealthy verse the poor working class, especially on that fateful night when those in the second and third class stood the lowest chance of escaping off the ship alive.