Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Last Dinner on the Titanic

One of my birthday presents in 1998 was a book, Last Dinner on the Titanic, from my son and daughter-in-law.   Steve [the gift giver] taught high school history before entering the ministry, and is a big Titanic buff.  

I loved reading the book, but it was eight years before I really put it to good use.  Upon retiring from my job, I was asked by a tea room owner to help develop some special events, and the "Last Dinner on the Titanic" was the first.  It was held on April 8, 2005.

Replica boarding passes were purchased and the names of  actual passengers were written on the back, and mailed to each guest.  Some of the guests researched  the person they were portraying, and were given the opportunity during the evening to  share the information if they chose to.   Guests didn't have to dress in period costume, but many did.

Symbolic gangplank leading to the entrance of the tea room.

I recruited my son to be our guest speaker, and he chose to impersonate Second Officer, Charles H. Lightoller.

L-R;  Steve, Phyllis & Tea Room Owner

Charles Lightoller greeted each passenger as they came aboard and received their boarding pass.  On this evening, the tea room became the Titanic's First-Class Dining Saloon.   In the "floating palace," as the Titanic was affectionately dubbed, this dining room was 92 feet wide by 114 feet long.  One passenger said it was hard to realize it was not in a large, sumptuous hotel.

These were the printed menus and programs for the evening.  We served six of the eleven courses that were served at that last dinner on Sunday, April 14, 1912.  [Recipes were in the book.]  This Sunday evening meal was the "most glittering" meal of the voyage.  First-class passenger, Elmer Taylor recalled, "A smooth sea, clear skies and low temperature outside gave the women passengers an opportunity to get out their latest Parisian gowns and their most brilliant jewels..."

First Course - Soup
Cream of Barley Soup

Second Course - Main Entrée 
Chicken Lyonnaise

Third Course - Removes
Creamed Carrots and Chateau Potatoes

Fourth Course - Palate Cleanser
Punch Romaine [Sorbet]

Fifth Course - Salad
Asparagus Salad with Champagne-Saffron Vinaigrette

Sixth Course - Sweets
French Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate Painted Eclairs

After Dinner
Coffee & Tea [Molly Brown House Blend]

For guests who didn't research their character, a passenger list was available at the end of the dinner so they could learn their age, marital status and whether they survived or perished.   The event, presented two nights, was a sell-out, and was attended by several couples rather than mostly females [a tea room's regular clientele].

The next year when Steve was unavailable, the owner's niece portrayed Molly Brown at an Afternoon Tea instead. 


  1. You did a great job. I can see alot of work went into this. I was involved in a dinner at a friends house where we each brought food from the 3 different classes. I made the rose punch, the barley soup which was really good, the oranges with sherbet in them and one other item? It was really fun. The punch was VERY FLORAL SMELLING and my hubby couldn't go near it as he has allergies. Another time, the same friend used a restaurant to have a benefit and had a 5 course meal with an orchestra playing the music from the Titanic.

  2. So enjoyed reading your account of the event! I am sure the "passengers" were impressed with all of the details that were included in the presentation. A wonderful way to honor the passengers and crew to The Great Ship.

  3. What a great tea party theme! Too bad my library system doesn't have that book...

  4. How fun is that! I loved reading about this and would have loved to have attended even more. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Oh, how I would have enjoyed being there. And I have been meaning to search for a copy of this very book!

  6. Thank you for sharing this, Phyllis. Our Titanic event is next week, and I so enjoyed the inspiration and motivation. This very book is sitting on my desk, and I have selected some of the same things you had on your menu.

  7. That sounds like a fun tea party to attend. Love your attention to details and I am sure everyone loved it.


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