It is probably the most famous menu in all documented history. At least, it is without any doubt of commercial navigation. We talk about the dinner served on April 14, 1912 aboard the Titanic, hours before his tragic end. This 2023 marks 111 years since she, the one that was advertised as an almost unsinkable ship, sank during her maiden voyage at dawn on April 15. However, interest in her legend lives on even so many laps around the sun later.
The largest, most luxurious and fastest ship in the world had three ultra-modern kitchens and a colossal pantry. The quality of the restoration was in 1912 one of the main claims of ocean liners such as the Titanic. To face the challenge of serving three quality meals to so many passengers and operatives, plus snacks and first-class treats, the chef (Pierre Rousseau, who died in the shipwreck at the age of 49) had the help of several experienced cooks.
That night, shortly before the collision with an iceberg changed the fate of the diners forever, four dinners were served on the Titanic. However, it is the one in the first-class dining room that has been best documented. It was about an extensive menu designed by the most famous and influential chef of that time: Auguste Escoffier.
However, in second class there was also a not inconsiderable menu that, as a curiosity, was written in English and not in French as was the custom in all the big tables. Even in third class it was served a most correct snack-dinner based on roast beef and plum pudding.
The first class passengers were divided that night between a private party in the À la carte restaurant and the rest, who went to the great room, which appears in the documents and menus as Privé. It was here that an excessive menu was served that consisted of 10 services of up to three dishes each, with their respective accompaniments.
Although the tone of this menu is markedly French, Escoffier did not forget that he was working for a British company and included other dishes more related to this cuisine such as poached salmon, lamb with mint sauce and roast beef loin. They have not been, yes, data of the wines that were served. Although we can guess that they were all French with the exception of some port.
The last supper in first class
Hors d’oeuvres: Assorted canapés, including admiral canapés (with butter and prawns). Oysters gratin in champagne.
Consommé Olga (with port and scallops). Barley cream.
Boiled salmon in short broth with muslin sauce and cucumbers.
Lili tenderloins (on slices of boiled potatoes, with goose foie, artichokes and truffles). Sautéed chicken lyonnaise style (with tomato and mushrooms) and stuffed zucchini.
Leg of lamb in mint sauce. Roasted duck with apple sauce. Roasted beef tenderloin with chateau potatoes (turned and browned in butter). Peas, creamed carrots, boiled rice, boiled new potatoes, parmentier potatoes (sautéed in butter with fresh parsley).
Ponche romaine (sorbet with orange, lemon, rum and meringue).
Roasted pigeon with watercress.
Cold asparagus with vinaigrette.
Foie gras pate. Celery.
Waldorf cake (chocolate glazed cake with hazelnuts). Peaches in jelly from Chartreuse Eclairs (lightning bolts) of chocolate and vanilla.
Finally, they tasted french ice cream. If someone had a hole, of course.
Cover photo | Titanic, James Cameron (1998)
In Jared | 18 recipes for healthy cakes and desserts to include in your diet without fear
In Jared | 20 Italian pasta recipes with which you will never get bored