Christmas aboard Titanic


Sep 20, 2000
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I'm feeling the warmth -- and the melancholy -- of the season lately, and it ocurred to me that, as the day draws near, it might be interesting to speculate on what it would have been like, had she survived, to celebrate Christmas on Titanic.

It never happened, of course. But if it had, what would it have been like? Certainly Olympic should provide some parallels.

I'd have to imagine the bands would be working their fingers to the bone, Mr. Hartley grinning ear to ear. I can imagine trees and wreaths and various holiday trimmings, perhaps even squads of caroling stewards roaming the decks, and "electric sprays" throughout. The public rooms would no doubt be festive indeed -- pianos tinkling away with seasonal mirth.

But what would it be like? Would Captain Smith, as on Sundays, lead a service and a holiday sing-along? And would he have come around briefly dressed as "Father Christmas"? (He certainly would have made a fine Santa Claus!) Would the Crew partake in a reading of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"? Would Eugene Daly or his counterpart be piping away in Steerage at "The Holly and the Ivy"? Would the children be kept amused stringing popcorn? Would roast duckling and plum pudding and hot mull wine be served? What would it really be like?

Any takers?
 
Sep 20, 2000
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And as I see it's already the 24th in England:
Happy birthday, Jack Thayer, wherever you are!
(And a merry Christmas Eve!)
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I'm sure Captain Smith would have made a fine Saint Nick. (Who knows, he may have done it on his other ships.) The Big T's dining saloons and other public spaces would have looked fantastic trimmed with garlands of pine needles, red ribbons and extra lights.

BTW, what is mull wine? On my side of the pond, it's turkey or ham with every conceivable trimming, apple cider, hot chocolate or eggnog.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Sam Brannigan

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Feb 24, 2007
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Happy birthday Jack

I'm sure the captain would have made a fine santa.
I ask this question in all seriousness.
Was Captain Smith the inspiration for Captain birdseye?
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Michael: I borrowed the beverage recollection from Clarence (Angel 2nd Class) in "It's a Wonderful Life". But I've always believed it was factual, and described a fairly esoteric, old-fashioned wine pressed from mulberries. Clarence requested it at "Nick's" ("Santini's") during the "alright, you've never been born" phase of the film, and shortly thereafter got thrown out on his keester, along with George (Bailey).

Anyway, I'm on your side of the pond, too, I think! (U.S.?) Actually, I thought of including turkey in the list, then suddenly wondered how prevalent it might be on a British ship of that period. Alright, I'll admit it. For some strange reason I assumed mull wine might be universal (if incredibly arcane), yet really questioned whether turkey was perhaps strictly an American thing. (And while on that wavelength, does anyone know if goose -- like in Dickens -- is still a Yuletide tradition, or would have been during the Gilded Age?) Anyway, the list was really just suggestive. I was hoping a true Titanic epicurean guru might leap in to rescue me there.

Sam: You've got me entirely with that one. I'm starting to feel like Captain Cook here. (Sorry, Pat, maybe you're right about that age thing!) Well, I remember Clarence Birdseye, but who's Captain Birdseye?

Shelley: Olympic cabaret? Cool! (Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome ...)

Will stay tuned!
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Harumph- the Brits may have had turkey but you can bet your boots it was red currant sauce and not cranberry sauce they dished up in 1912! Next to hot dogs, greasy hamburgers, cold beer, Coca-cola and really bad waxy chocolates- we Yanks do cranberries BEST- let's hear it for those Ocean Spray bogs!
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Oooh Shelley! Caught you out on this one! Cranberry was not such a rarity in "Dear Old Blighty" as you may think. I have a 1907 menu for Christmas which includes turkey with a cranberry and port wine sauce. Have a good Christmas Shell, I'll get that booklet off to you after (the mail is on melt down over here - but that's nothing unusual. p.s. our local mail box still has Queen Victoria's initials on it - really (and no, I don't mean she scratched them on herself!)
Geoff
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hi John, yes, I live in South Carolina. Interesting about the wine. I didn't know mulberries were edible. I suspect turkey first ended up dinner tables here in the Colonies.(Turkey's indiginous to the Americas isn't it?) Goose was the big thing in Britain.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

George Behe

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Dec 11, 1999
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Geoff wrote:

>I have a 1907 menu for Christmas which includes >turkey with a cranberry and
>port wine sauce.

Tell us, old chap -- did you go back for seconds? :)

Happy Holidays to everyone here, and may the New Year bring you everything you hope for.

Take care, friends.

Sincerely,

George and Pat Behe
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Well, now you've all got me wondering! Michael, I wasn't sure myself if they were edible raw, but Tracy's still here to tell the tale -- no, not the mummy tale -- so I guess so! And yes, that was my reasoning with turkey -- that it was a U.S. endemic. (Ever hear that story about Ben Franklin's dislike for the bald eagle as a national symbol and preference for the turkey? I can't attest to its veracity, but think of the implications!)

On the subject of mulberries and other esoterics, I do know that certain "wild" foods are safely edible ONLY if cooked. Stranger still, there was a booming market in America, up until sometime in the early 1900's, for a crop marketed as "Pieberry". (It made very tasty pies.) Unfortunately -- it was actually the berries of Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) -- it was only safely edible by adults, as children had a nasty tendency to occasionally be poisoned by it. (It got banned as a food product eventually because of this small "drawback.") I'll dig out the book if you want exact details -- this is just loosely from memory.

Hey, anyone else ever have Pawpaws? Yum! (To those who haven't, they taste vaguely like bananas -- delicious.)

Geoff, thanks for the intercultural update on turkey! Is goose still a Seasonal "biggie" there, or is that old news nowadays? (And George -- tsk, tsk. To think I deliberately qualified that "Clarence" account above with "George (Bailey)", just to avert the obvious zinger.)
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Merry Christmas, all!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Black nightshade? Yikes! You can keep it and I'll take your word for it. On the menu at my home tommorrow; salad, ham, macaroni and cheese, and cauliflower with apple pie for dessert. I just hope I have some heavy cream to make a whipped topping with.

This list would probably make the chefs on the Titanic turn white with horror, but shucks, we like it.

I wonder what the Titanic would have served for Christmas. Hmmmmm. Somebody out there has got to have a representative menu from some White Star ship.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Sam Brannigan

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Feb 24, 2007
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I've just sold tons (or is that tonnes) of mulled wine this Christmas. And cinnamon sticks. Oh, and cloves as well. Not many Pawpaws though.
John - Captain Birdseye is on the TV ads for the Birdseye corp. in the UK. Until recently he was very Captain Smith-ish until they replaced him with some bloody male model who looks like Ricky Martin.

Bring back EJ!

Regards

Sam
 

Sam Brannigan

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While we're on the subject of being merry, as someone involved in the wine trade, Ive never seen a winelist for the Titanic and would be extremely interested to see what she stocked.

I'm currently trying to find out what the "Larose 1888" was, as described at the beginning of the '76 edition of ANTR.
I've never heard of such a winery. Perhaps it no longer exists, or never did. Unless someone comes to the rescue I'll keep you posted ( if you are interested, of course!)

Sam
 
Sep 20, 2000
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Hi, Sam!

AH! I thought you were just "playing along" along with those first "mulled wine" responses, but you were serious. So, is it a wine pressed from mulberries (rather than grapes) or a wine flavored (additionally) with mullberries, or does it perhaps have nothing to do with mulberries and just sound like it does? (Tell, Sam, tell!)
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Oh, two trivia corrections to my previous post, if anybody gives a hoot. The HOT beverage Clarence requested was actually "a flaming rum punch", THEN he asked for "mull(ed) wine, heavy on the cinnamon." Also, the regular name of the bar in "It's a Wonderful Life" was "Martini's", not "Santini's". (Just finished my quasi-annual viewing) Sorry, Mr. Martini!

I've got to claim complete ignorance on the "Larose 1888", Sam. Just out of my scope entirely. Any chance Lord foreshortened the name? (Oh, and thanks for the fill-in on the Captain.)

Cheers, and Merry Xmas!
John Feeney
 
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Robert M. Himmelsbach

Guest
OK, I'm late on this, but:
a) Mulled wine or mulled wine punch is usually made of plain old red wine with spices added (cinnemon, ginger, clove, etc) and then heated traditionally by inserting a glowing red-hot poker but more modernly by plunking the pot on the back burner on a low flame.
b) Christmas turkey and goose are relatively interchangable in both USA and UK; in Dickensian period, a poor (Cratchit) family would likely have a small goose rather than a large turkey which was a trifle more "exotic" and therefore more upper-middle and upper class at the time.
c) Cranberry jelly/relish is a more American than Brit usage, although barrels of cranberries were imported into England in quite large quantities starting in the 17th C.!
d) The Christmas Ham is really a more American and more recent invention.

Belated Xmas greetings and the best of New Years - may you all find the historical documentation of your dreams!
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Nope- It ain't over yet! Epiphany is Saturday- the Wise Guys have to come- THEN it's over. I still have my trees up and am hohoho-ing all over the place. Party- on dudes. This from The Church Lady who knows these things.
 
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Jared Marvin

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I just cant understand how they just scrapped the Olympic. I am sure that thet would of been smarter as it was the most famous Liner's sister :s
 

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