RMS Titanic sank on the 14th April 1912 only four days into her maiden voyage. 1517 lives were lost. 100 + years on and we are still curious, not to just how such an appalling accident could have happened but also what was life aboard the ship like, and particularly, what did they eat?
There were three classes of travel aboard, First, Second and Third class, also known as Steerage. The cost of travelling varied hugely with a 1st Class ticket around £800, 2nd, just over £100 and 3rd, a lowly £30.
It is no wonder therefore that standards were so varied. Each class had their accommodation and style of food and service with first and second class food prepared in the same galley situated on D deck.
With 2229 passengers and crew on board when the ship set sail and with menus of such varying styles of food, the provisions needed for the voyage was enormous; thousands of pounds of meat, vegetables, fruit and flour; thousands of bottles of alcohol and 14,000 gallons of freshwater were drunk each day.
Despite the Titanic being a British ship foods served in first class had more of a continental flavour as was the fashion for food at the time. In second and steerage foods would have been less pretentious and more like the simple British and Irish food.
1st Class Pantry & Galley
First Class Menus on the Titanic
Passengers in First Class were by far the best fed. They had paid handsomely for this privilege with their ticket costing eight times more than Second and over 25 times more than Third. As was the fashion in upper-class circles in Victorian times, the food was predominantly French in style, but some of the great British stalwarts like Roast Sirloin Beef still held their own on the menu.
Second Class Menus on the Titanic
Food was closer to home in second class. French rarely appeared with the preference for traditional British food. Curried Chicken, Baked Fish, Spring Lamb, Mutton and Roast Turkey.
Pudding was also more homely and on the night the Titanic sank, the doomed second class passengers actually tucked into Plum Pudding, what we now know as Christmas Pudding.
Third Class Menus on the Titanic
It should be noted that food served to passengers in third class was simply scaled down versions of second class, passengers in steerage had little to complain about as for many this food was better than they had been used to.
The first class dining room
RMS Titanic – First Class Dinner Menu April 14, 1912
Oysters – Consomme Olga – Cream of Barley
Salmon, Mousseline Sauce, Cucumber
Main Courses and Vegetables
Filet Mignons Lili
Saute of Chicken, Lyonnaise
Vegetable Marrow Farcie
Lamb, Mint Sauce
Roast Duckling, Apple Sauce
Sirloin of Beef, Chateau Potatoes
Green Peas – Creamed Carrots – Boiled Rice
Parmentier or Boiled New Potatoes
Roast Squab and Cress
Cold Asparagus Vinaigrette
Pate De Foie Gras
Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly
Chocolate Vanilla Eclairs
French Ice Cream
The second class dining room
RMS Titanic – Second Class Dinner Menu April 14, 1912
Consommé with tapioca
Baked haddock with sharp sauce
curried chicken and rice
spring lamb with mint sauce
roast turkey with savory cranberry sauce
green peas – puree turnips
boiled rice – boiled and roast potatoes
Third course (desserts)
American Ice Cream
assorted fresh fruit
cheese – biscuits
The third class dining room
RMS Titanic – Third Class Dinner Menu April 14, 1912
Rabbit pie – baked potatoes
bread and butter – rhubarb and ginger jam
text from: britishfood.about.com