Steerage meals on the Titanic as compared with the rest


Arun Vajpey

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From what I read, it appeared that the meals offered to the steerage passengers on board the Titanic, were simple but good and filling. For some of the passengers it was probably better than what they ate back home.

I wonder how the steerage menu on board the Titanic compared with other big liners of the period, notably their Cunard competitors? I have not come across a specific steerage menu for the Lusitania, but recall reading that it was basic in every sense of the word. Does anyone know more?
 
May 12, 2009
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From what I've seen, the fare was about equal in quality for all corresponding class between Cunard and White Star. to be honest, when I looked at photographs of the steerage accommodation between the Lusitania/Mauretania and Olympic/Titanic, I see little difference in quality of accommodation, except perhaps it was comfier to travel steerage on the White Star ships since they were never built to travel at breakneck speed.

Hope this helps.
 

Dave Gittins

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The thing that strikes me about the food in third class is that it must have come as a culture shock to the passengers from the Middle East and continental Europe. It was so very English!

Perhaps Arun and Evgueni would like to comment.
 

Arun Vajpey

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>>>>> Perhaps Arun and Evgueni would like to comment <<<<<<


Well, I am from India but have lived in the UK for 23 years and so Western food is no problem (as long as it is not Italian ;)). But you are right, the Oriental & Middle Eastern travellers probably lived on fruit during transatlantic voyages.
 
Sep 1, 2004
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Yes, Dave, you are completely right! I am from Czech Republic (but please, do not tell me that you are convinced there is still "Czechoslovakia", war, we are suffering of diseases and hunger, and so on - some American and even French do think so...) and I thought exactly the same thing - it was so very English!

Now we have internet and TV and plus, I study tourism and we also learn about eating habits of other countries, and I am interested in the British culture, so the menu was not that new to me. But it was very English indeed.

It must have been really strange to someone very poor Middle East passengers to have an afternoon tea with cookies!
 

Arun Vajpey

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>>>>> I am interested in the British culture, so the menu was not that new to me <<<<<

British culture is OK but as far as their cuisine goes, there is not a lot more choice than what you saw on the Titanic's steerage menu ;)
 
May 12, 2009
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Well, I take it the Middle Eastern passengers braced themselves for some "odd" fare. I mean, it was either the stewed kidney and tripe with herring... Or nothing at all. Though, the violent diarrhoea that would have followed such unfamiliar to the digestive tract meals is a whole other story. ;-)
 

Arun Vajpey

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>>>> stewed kidney and tripe with herring... Or nothing at all. Though, the violent diarrhoea that would have followed such unfamiliar to the digestive tract meals is a whole other story <<<<<

Well, with a (yuk!) fare like that one would be forced to bring it out violently at one or the other end....and I suspect not just the Middle Eastern passengers!
 
Jan 28, 2003
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No indeed, Arun. The gag reflex is universal. When I was ill as a small child my mother gave me tripe - terrible consequences. Actually, there are few things I won't eat after this disastrous event. Most are to do with texture, not taste - which makes me wonder about freaky eaters as shown on TV now. What I won't now eat is - oysters (slimy), egg white (slimy), jellied ells (slimy). Um ... I think that's about it. But I just love omelets. And, happily, nearly everything else.
 

Arun Vajpey

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Makes me glad that I am a vegetarian! Mind you, I might have lost a kilo or two on the Titanic and that's not just from a hand at the oars of a lifeboat.
 
May 12, 2009
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Well, you must realise that offal was a very common meat source back then, many steerage passengers (well, the European ones at least) were used to eating organ meet. In any case, the third class passengers were really lucky to receive such hearty and nourishing meals because many came from very impoverished, half-starved backgrounds. But here, they got full meals three times a day, had things brought to them and dwelled in clean, warm rooms. For most, it was like a vacation.
 

Bob Godfrey

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Arun, as a physician you should be setting a good example by tucking into a nourishing plate of jellied eels or pie & mash at every opportunity. As a light dessert to follow, I recommend a Mars bar deep fried in batter. I'll send a food parcel.

Mon, in the light of what you say above I've had to abandon the first three courses of the birthday treat I've been planning for you. But I hope you'll like the jelly and custard. I'll send the winkles and liver & lights to Arun.

All - No steerage menus on the Titanic, because there were no steerage passengers. If you're interested in catering for steerage, check out the provisions for 4th Class on the German liners of the time.
 

Arun Vajpey

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>>>>> Arun, as a physician you should be setting a good example by tucking into a nourishing plate of jellied eels or pie & mash at every opportunity. As a light dessert to follow, I recommend a Mars bar deep fried in batter. I'll send a food parcel. <<<<<

I am a GP actually. Just thinking about that fare probably made my cholesterol levels jump up a notch.
 

Arun Vajpey

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>>>>>Dear God... How bad was the 4th class?!?! <<<<<

You were probably chained & whipped and had to beg on hands & knees for your meals.
happy.gif
 

Bob Godfrey

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How bad was 4th Class? Quite simply, 4th Class was steerage. 3rd Class was not steerage, but rather a downgraded version of 2nd Class. The US immigration authorities fully recognised this distinction, but classified 3rd Class as a form of 'new steerage' to ensure that the the increasing numbers of immigrants who travelled at that level could not avoid the inspection procedures at Ellis Island.

In practical terms, the 3rd Class traveller could relax and enjoy the voyage (provided the ship stayed above water for the duration). 4th Class (steerage) could only be endured. But for an adult male travelling alone it wasn't exactly Hell on Earth. They'd have a lot worse to contend with in 1914-18.
 
May 27, 2007
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In practical terms, the 3rd Class traveller could relax and enjoy the voyage (provided the ship stayed above water for the duration).
LOL that's a good analogy Bob!

I can only agree also during the the Great War what it was like traveling in what I like to call "Ultra Steerage" was hell for single men! Ultra Steerage is what I call 4th Class, do to the fact that so many people including myself call 3rd Class "Steerage".
 

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