Meals on board

  • Thread starter Stefan Christiansson
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Dec 2, 2000
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I've had Mumm's as well, and with no complaint either. I've rarely been disappointed with what the French have to offer, though I was cautious in getting a Dom Perignon 1995. Moet et Chandon wasn't always smart about declaring their vintages, and some turned out, by all accounts, to be utterly dreadful. (The 1986 was a disaster by any reckoning I've heard!)

Domestic sparklers can be very good, and the "methode champegnois" that I've been getting from the Biltmore Estate is world class IMO.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Moet et Chandon have an operation here in Oz in the Yarra Valley, Mike, and are getting rather yummy! For day to day purposes a nice Yellowglen usually does the trick, though.

There are interesting photos of WSL crew drinking what appears to be stout...Lightoller purportedly liked gin, and some rumours I've heard would have it that Murdoch wasn't adverse to a drink (either ale or stout, can't recall which) when ashore. I once spent a very happy evening with a couple of friends trying to determine the Edwardian layout of the Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool when Murdoch and his officer friends drank there - it has been substantially refurbished many times since April 1912.
 

Lee Gilliland

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Michael, you really like the Biltmore winery? I have not really taken to them - the champagnes are a bit tarter than what I enjoy, and the reds, especially, were a bit raw for my taste.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I've had some of the wines from Oz. Some are pretty good, though there was one Shariz that I was disappointed in.

Lee, I'e got quite a nice collection from Biltmore. Some of the wines may need a little more aging, but I think they give good value for the money. Tart doesn't bother me in the least. I think it helps to know that their sparklers are made from the chardonney grape exclsively. I'm rather fond of the reds.
 

Lee Gilliland

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Well that may well be the prob then - we need to allow them to sit a bit longer. Thanks. Have you any other wineries to suggest? I'm just getting into wines myself and would appreciate some guidance.
 

Inger Sheil

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Oz winemaking has well and truly come of age, Mike, and there's some wonderful winemaking country down here. I once had to open an equestrian facility at Cessknock on behalf of the Sport's minister, and the locals put myself and a friend up at a wonderful boutique hotel in the heart of the wine country. Many a Hunter Valley red was knocked off that night. We often trot up there for weekends away with winetasting in the vineyards (without looking too Ab-Fab about it, one hopes). It's a pity you hit a dud on the red front - there's some very good, full bodied, 'spicy' Shiraz available down here. Blasphemous though it is, I prefer a South Australian Shiraz to a Hunter Valley. There are some excellent local Chardonnays if your taste goes in that direction (mine doesn't - I'm not a Chardy Gurl, unlike many in my part of the world). We did a bit of winetasting through California over the last couple of years and have brought a few bottles back.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Well that may well be the prob then - we need to allow them to sit a bit longer.<<

Curiously enough, that may not be such a good idea. That may work with the bordeaux type of wines that Biltmore produces, but they're really not meant to be kept over the long haul. (This tidbit, BTW, comes directly to us from the winemaster of the estate!) They're meant to be enjoyed fresh.

Regards other wineries. Robert Moldavi seems pretty good IMO, and Mum and I have been trying a number of the French Bordeaux wines. The Italian reds can be very good, but don't expect a lot out of their whites. They don't much care about it and will be the first to say so! I think like Asti Spumante, they regard the whites as "fun wines." Enjoy them but don't take them seriously.

Inger, I haven't gone onto the Chardonney bandwagon either, though there are a few good ones we keep around. We had one from the Biltmore last weekend that was very good and there's a Rothschild we tried which was IMO, decidedly underpriced. (So we laid up a couple of bottles!
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I like shariz myself. Rather a peppery wine that one. More so then some of the bordeaux's we've had. That one I mentioned earlier was the odd man out in that it didn't have a lot of character to it at all. I was genuinely surprised since most of the wines we've tried from Oz are as good as any you can find and better then some of the more famous lables that are out there.

If you're ever in my neck of the woods and we can somehow get together for a face to face meeting, we really need to make a trip up to the Biltmore estate. That mansion is fascinating, but the winery is the highlight of the trip IMO.
 
May 1, 2004
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Call me a snob (go ahead!), but if the label doesn't say "Méthode Champagneoise", and it's not a product of France, it ain't Champagne.

My favourite is Piper Heidsick Extra Dry.

I'm certain WSL carried the very best French champagnes for use in the FC Dining Room and, esp. the a la carte restaurant.

Jeez, I'd like to know what a really good dinner for two, including pre-dinner cocktails, wine w/dinner, and a liqueur with dessert and coffee would cost in 2004 dollars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OY!
 

Inger Sheil

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Jonathan, I know that I was using the term 'Champagne' for a generic type of sparkling wine...that's why I referred obliquely in one of my posts to the conflicts Oz wine makers have had with the French producers. Having lived in the Europe Union for so long I'm accustomed to these sort of fiercely guarded regional labels (witness the disputes over 'Parma Ham.') However, I didn't want to sound elitist, and so used it in a generic sense and bracketed other terms. Of course, I could always just have used the colloquial 'champers'!

Michael, I'd be happy to make a vineyard trip - and if you ever get down here, there's a reciprocal invitation to pop up to the Hunter Valley...and I'll try and get up a good SA Shiraz to compensate for the bad experience! Origin in and of itself is of course no gaurantee of quality...I've had Australian visitors to London all geared up for French reds, only to find that the first bottle they tried didn't live up to expectations (naturally, they perservered until they found something very quaffable!).

I'm not wed to the domestic stuff, however - this evening I'm off to a cocktail party where the only local ingredients in the Cosmopolitans will be the cranberry juice!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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For the record, the Shiraz I'm talking about is from the Alice White concern. It wasn't bad, but it just didn't have a lot of character going for it. Don't know if I'll ever get to OZ again. My way there ended with my Navy career and I'm no longer in a position to hitch rides on any handy warship. Still, if I can get there again, it sounds like a good deal.

If you ever get up to the Biltmore Estate, be sure to take time to take the tour of the mansion itself. It's a fantastic piece of period architecture, and it even has a massive pipe organ that would rival the best instruments in the churchs and cathedrals of Europe. It must have cost a pretty penny on it's own, but this is the Vanderbilt family were talking about here.
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Jonathan, you might be interested to know that the Piper Heidsick Brut rated a 91 this year from The Wine Spectator. Can't say as I've ever tried their Extra Dry, so I may have to give it a whirl.
 
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Cheryl Adair

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Have just been reading some details from another website, listing all the foods and the amount of linens, dishes, etc.

Am curious about something...........

It listed 3,000 *Beef Tea Dishes* and another 3,000 *Beef Tea Cups*

Well what were those?! (it also listed just *tea cups* as well) What are BEEF tea cups? Why are they different from regular tea cups?

Also I thought it rather amusing in a way to see that there were only 2,223 passengers/crew members on the ship -- and yet they stocked "8,000" cigars!
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Were the men allowed to smoke anywhere they wanted to onboard, or just in the *smoking room* ?

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Lee Gilliland

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"Beef Tea" is what we would call bouillon. They were larger than regular tea cups, and occasionally had two handles instead of just the one, to make them easier to lift. The beef tea dishes went under the beef tea cups - fancy way of naming a saucer.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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Hi Cheryl,
can't help re the beef tea business. The cigars and booze statistics have been discussed elsewhere, particularly by me and Bob Godfrey (me as the enquirer, and Bob as the voice of reason and knowledge...). You have to remember two things - firstly, that some items were taken on board for the return journey, and it's not always easy to know which. And secondly, that they were aboard for 7 days. So, with the cigars, you can assume they were mostly for first and second class men. Work out how many as a possibility, and then calculate how many a day they smoked, and you might not find it so amazing. I don't know, but I think it was either the smoking room or the decks they were confined to with the puffing - and their own suites / rooms, of course. As a vague idea, I think it works out as only about 3 cigars a day if it was for one voyage only, or half that if for the return trip. So I think the smokers were probably well-provided for, but I don't think it suggests that everyone eligible was puffing away dutifully between meals. Probably a bit of a sea-voyage treat for some, though, a cigar after meals?
 

Bob Godfrey

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Aside from the passengers' smoking places, many of the crew sneaked off while on duty for a 'cough and a drag' to any place where no-one was looking. And it's documented that some smoked in the lifeboats,which led to complaints from the ladies that this was both inconsiderate and dangerous. Harold Lowe advised against it for a different reason, on the grounds that tobacco made you thirsty.
 
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Ken Lupton

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I was also puzzled by something on the menu for 11th April. It included:

Fried, shirred, poached and boiled eggs. Plain and tomato omelettes to order.

Never heard of shirred eggs, perhaps it is the same as scrambled.
 

Lee Gilliland

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Shirred eggs are baked eggs, usually in a little dish of their own and covered with a bit of milk or cream to keep them from drying out.
 
Jan 28, 2003
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Quite a cook, eh, Lee? I've an interest in 'ancient' cooking (not Edwardian) and recently bought a Roman cookbook. I don't think it's going to be very much used - so much honey, and so sweet. They can't possibly have kept their teeth beyond 30. Also a lot of recipes involving tiny birds - all those bones, so much effort for so little reward. They seem to have a few good recipes for wild boar, though.
 

Lee Gilliland

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Believe it or not, they ate the bones too - one of the reasons that so many of them got caught in the throat. Not only sweet - if you come to "garum" walk by fast - it was a sauce made of decayed fish entrails salted and allowed to soak in the sun until pasty.

Give me Edwardian food any day!
 

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