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.
There was plenty of ice cream on Titanic - 1,200 quarts, to be exact - but the type of ice cream varied by social class. First-class passengers were served French ice cream as dessert following dinner, while second class was given American ice cream.
French ice cream was made richer and heavier, closer to custard because it was made with egg. Elaborate desserts in first class, like French ice cream, were overseen by Adolf Mattman, listed among the crew as "Ice Man," who was in charge of frozen treats on the ship.
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With 1,000 lbs. of grapes on Titanic, there were plenty to go around. Fresh fruit, such as hothouse grapes, was present at breakfast for first-class passengers and at lunch and dinner for diners in second class, but the grapes eaten were very different.
Unlike their counterparts in first class, second-class passengers had to pull grapes off the bunch by hand. First-class passengers were given grape scissors for the task.
There were anywhere from 100 to 1,500 pairs of grape scissors aboard Titanic.
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Eggs were served to passengers from all classes, most commonly - but not always - at breakfast.
There were 40,000 fresh eggs aboard Titanic and first-class passengers enjoyed a plethora of egg preparations throughout the day. Fried, shirred (or baked), poached, and boiled eggs for breakfast accompanied Egg à l'Argenteuil for lunch. Egg à l'Argenteuil was a scrambled egg dish that included asparagus.
Second-class passengers were fed fried eggs and grilled ham for breakfast, an option similar to what third-class eaters were given. In third class, however, they were simply called "ham and eggs," with no information on how the items were prepared.
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Fish And Seafood
Fresh, salted, and dried fish constituted 15,000 lbs. of foodstuffs on Titanic. Types of fish included herring, salmon, brill, haddock, and anchovy, all of which were served in first class. First-class passengers could dine on smoked salmon alongside fresh herring and Finnan haddock - a cold-smoked haddock named for the Scottish town - for breakfast.
Lunch fish choices for first class included Norwegian anchovies, plain and smoked sardines, soused herrings, and salmon mayonnaise served buffet-style. Soused herrings were prepared by soaking the fish in wine or vinegar before cooking and serving it cold, while salmon mayonnaise was just as it sounds. At the end of the day, first-class passengers ate salmon in Mousseline sauce (similar to Hollandaise sauce) with cucumber as an early dinner course. Shrimp and oysters were also available in first class.
In second class, fish was served at breakfast and dinner, including Yarmouth Bloaters. Yarmouth Bloaters were a type of cold-smoked herring. A baked haddock in a sharp sauce at dinner included fish served in a sauce made of brown sugar, onion, tomato paste, mustard, hot pepper, and Worcestershire.
Third-class passengers had one fish choice in a day - smoked herring at breakfast.
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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.
- Photo: Quaker Oats Co. / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
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.