• Weird History

What Did Passengers Eat On The Titanic?

What did they eat on Titanic? It all, very literally, depended on where you sat. 

The food served on Titanic had more nuance and flair on the higher decks, where more options allowed for an array of flavor combinations. In first class, passengers could enjoy the foods that came with their voyage or they could pay a bit extra to dine at one of Titanic's restaurants, the À la Carte and Café Parisien. Second- and third-class passengers had fewer choices, especially those traveling in steerage, but no one went hungry, and the dishes and facilities were as clean as could be.

First-class passengers ate three meals a day. Breakfast and lunch included buffet-style dining, while dinner was a multi-course affair. In second class, Titanic meals were robust and plentiful, again served three times a day. People in third class enjoyed breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper, with dinner serving as the largest meal of the day. 

When it came to what first-class passengers ate on Titanic, no expense was spared. Titanic food menus reveal elaborate dishes for members of the second and third classes as well, with meals that included plenty of tasty foods for all.

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  • Sweet Spreads

    Sweet spreads - jelly, marmalade, jam - were common meal staples on Titanic, but the varieties declined the lower one's social class. Third-class passengers had marmalade at breakfast and a sweet sauce served with dinner, while second class diners enjoyed marmalade with additional wine jelly

    In first class, Chartreuse jelly notwithstanding, they could choose from black currant conserve, Narbonne honey, and Oxford marmalade at their morning meal. Oxford marmalade, Frank Cooper's version of the traditional British spread - was made from oranges, syrup, sugar, and pectin. 

    All of the sweet spreads would have been eaten on fresh bread, something everyone aboard Titanic could find in abundance.

  • Quaker Oats was available at the first-class breakfast on Titanic alongside puffed rice, another item made by the Quaker Oats Company.

    Walter Donald Douglas, whose father owned a cereal mill in Iowa that later became part of Quaker Oats, was on board Titanic and served as an executive at the company. Douglas perished on Titanic after watching his wife and their maid board a lifeboat. He supposedly refused to join them, indicating to leave the ship before all of the women and children was to be "less than a man" and he was "a gentleman." 

    Oatmeal was used to make porridge for breakfast in steerage and the evening gruel could have been made from any grain, such as rye, wheat, rice, or oats

    Other cereals and grains - there were 10,000 lbs. of cereal on board - included corn used in bread and buckwheat made into cakes. 

  • At the time, watercress was believed to be healthy and help with digestion. As a result, it was served in abundance in the first and second classes at the end of breakfast.

    In first class, watercress was served for dinner as well. On April 14, roast squab was served on a bed of cress. Modern chefs attempting to recreate the dish assume the watercress was wilted.

  • Fruit

    In addition to 1,000 lbs. of grapes, Titanic had 180 boxes of oranges, 50 boxes of lemons, and 50 boxes of grapefruit. Fruit was served to passengers in first, second, and third class, found at multiple meals a day for the higher classes. First class had fresh fruit at breakfast with baked options at other meals. With 36,000 lbs. of apples on board, first-class passengers were treated to baked apples in the morning and meringue apples at lunch.

    Applesauce at dinner accompanied roast duckling, but if diners wanted something different, they could eat peaches in Chartreuse jelly. As a dessert, it featured peaches, sugar, Chartreuse liqueur with gelatin alongside cinnamon, cloves, and lemon juice. It may have been served on French ice cream. 

    Second class had fruit choices at all three meals, although they were much less elaborate in presentation. Simple fruit at breakfast accompanied fresh fruit at lunch and dinner alongside plum pudding. Third class was given fruit at dinner, but it's unclear how it was presented. Stewed figs were also served at tea on April 14th.