17 July 2009

Last Dinner on the Titanic

No disaster has so captivated the American psyche as the sinking of the Titanic. Thanks in large part to Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, we are pretty sure we know exactly what it was like to have been on the ill-fated Titanic. We do know what was on the menu on the evening of 14 April 1912, because two of the First-class menus survived the sinking. Last Dinner on the Titanic became a window into Edwardian dining.

There were eleven courses, not counting coffee and after dinner drinks.

Second-Class passengers had a mere three courses. I adore pureed vegetables of all kinds. The Titanic recipe for turnips is a joy, even if they only served it in Second-Class.
Turnip Puree
2lb turnips
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup milk, heated
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

Peel turnips and cut into chunks; place in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until fork-tender.

Drain well and transfer to food processor; add butter, honey, and cardamom; process until smooth. With motor running, gradually pour in heated milk, salt and pepper. Continue to process until turnips are light and creamy.

Due in part to the enormous success of the movie, the Titanic became big business. There was even a Dinner on the Titanic Party Pack, complete with place cards, menus and music. I'm not sure "celebrating" a disaster is the best idea for a dinner party! If you come remember BYOB - bring you own boat.

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