April 11, 2012

Will you attend a "Titanic Dinner" this Saturday, in remembrance of the last dinner on the Titanic 100 years ago?

There's one here in Madison, at Steenbock's on Orchard, which is an excellent place. 11 courses, $100 with "wine pairings." "Attire inspired by time period is welcome." Hmmm.

What's the least inviting part of this?
  
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Oh, don't be such a wet blanket killjoy iceberg, it will be fun!

CORRECTION: "Friday" in the post title changed to "Saturday" after reading Curious George's comment: "Titanic Dinner on Friday the 13th...sure right after I break a mirror, walk under a ladder, and open an umbrella inddors."

49 comments:

Scott M said...

"Attire inspired by time period is welcome."

Do you think that includes nude with one gawd-awfully big blue rock around your neck?

Mr. Forward said...

Meade, I think this Post may have been posted for your benefit. hope you got a real old tux.

traditionalguy said...

The eating experience of courses of great cuisine and 5 wine pairings eaten with the meal is one to try once in your life. Especially good at a real French Restaurant on New Year's Eve.

If you can find it, watch Babbettes Feast, and go enjoy life.

Bob_R said...

I hope they have a period appropriate basement room ready for the Madisonians who (inevitably) dress up as proles.

Lucien said...

In some sense the sinking of the Titanic began the twentieth century, in at least its most calamitous aspects.

By the same lights, the opening of the Panama Canal a couple of years later began the considerably less calamitous American century.

KLDAVIS said...

Here is the original menu...not sure how close they are following it.

Curious George said...

Titanic Dinner on Friday the 13th...sure right after I break a mirror, walk under a ladder, and open an umbrella inddors.

Ron said...

...and on the menu....'the band will play 'Nearer my Cod to thee''...

bagoh20 said...

I'd love to go, especially if there will be some unsinkable, pre-feminist women there.

rhhardin said...

You send both SOS and the older CQD at this event in morse, for historical accuracy.

The Titanic had call sign MGY, if you want to try to raise them.

Christopher in MA said...

No. Only because I'll be playing the owner, J. Bruce Ismay, in a local "centennial production" of Titanic.

But even if I wasn't. . .there's something I find rather odd about the Titanic cult. I understand the people who are fascinated by the ship herself: the construction, the lavishness, the mechanics of how and why she broke apart before hitting bottom, and of course, the "largest moving object in the world" sinking on her maiden voyage makes a much better story than following the lives of her sister ships Olympic, Majestic, Celtic and others, who all ran the oceans without incident.

I think what it bothers me is the underlying assumption that, were we there, we would naturally be part of the First or Second Class and would (because we're such wonderfully evolved 21st century folk) be kind and generous to the hoi polloi - "keepin' it real," as it were. Just like the "past lives" silliness, where people are always Cleopatra or William the Conqueror but never Ramjet, emptier of the royal outhouse in the reign of Thutmose the Mighty.

Two last notes, one of which I mentioned when the White Star ships came up in a thread a while back:

- White Star Line ship names end in "ic" (Titanic, Oceanic, Britannic). Cunard Line ship names end (or did, years ago) in "ia" (Lusitania, Mauretania, Aquitania.

- here's the link to my show:
www.pentucketplayers.org

David said...

Can we all take a swim after dinner?

rhhardin said...

Will there be bobbing for apples

Lem said...

What's the least inviting part of this?

The Celine Dion song.. as background music.

"I wish I could say, 'Oh listen, everybody! It's the Celine Dion song!' But I don't. I just have to sit there, you know, kind of straight-faced with a massive internal eye roll."

The Drill SGT said...

The guy you want at your party is Ben Guggenheim

Realizing that the situation was much more serious than he had implied, as well as realizing he was not going to be rescued, he then returned to his cabin with Giglio and the two men changed into evening wear. The two were seen heading into the Grand staircase closing the door behind them. He was heard to remark, "We've dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen." He also gave a survivor a message saying, "Tell my wife, if it should happen that my secretary and I both go down, tell her I played the game out straight to the end. No woman shall be left aboard this ship because Ben Guggenheim was a coward." Guggenheim and his valet were last seen seated in deck chairs in the Staircase sipping brandy and smoking cigars.

a Mensch

bagoh20 said...

"largest moving object in the world"

The ice never gets any respect. I thought history loves a winner.

Justin said...

$100 for 11 courses and a wine pairing is a great deal. Go for it.

Scott M said...

Will there be bobbing for apples

Yes, but the water will be very cold.

LarsPorsena said...

"..I think what it bothers me is the underlying assumption that, were we there, we would naturally be part of the First or Second Class .."

The second underlying assumption is, not only would we have traveled in style but that we would be among the survivors.

Christopher in MA said...

I'd love to go, especially if there will be some unsinkable, pre-feminist women there.

Ditto that. Women may have been "oppressed" by the patriarchy and "imprisoned" in their corsets, kid boots, petticoats and bustles, but they were ladies. Beautiful ladies.

The ice never gets any respect.

Henry James wrote a poem just afer the sinking called The Convergence Of The Twain which basically takes the POV of the berg. As well, if you scour the web, you can find a photograph taken on April 15 of a berg with a red smear along its base that is presumed to be the one Titanic hit. Sorry I don't know how to link.

bagoh20 said...

I have to admit that I think that song is just perfect for the movie and the story, and I liked the movie a lot too.

David said...

Lucien said...
In some sense the sinking of the Titanic began the twentieth century, in at least its most calamitous aspects.

By the same lights, the opening of the Panama Canal a couple of years later began the considerably less calamitous American century.


Around 27,000 workers died building the Panama Canal, according to David McCullough's "Path Between the Seas." About 5600 died in the American phase of the construction, and the remainder in the earlier, failed French effort.

To say that the 20th Century was not calamitous is pretty astonishing. Two deadly world wars with total deaths approaching a hundred million, multiple genocides of millions of people (Jews, Russians, Chinese, Cambodians, Africans, Kurds, Armenians), countless deadly smaller wars, a deadly pandemic, etc.

It was a good century to be an American, as we were spared the worst of most of this, but not calamitous?

The Drill SGT said...

LarsPorsena said...
"..I think what it bothers me is the underlying assumption that, were we there, we would naturally be part of the First or Second Class .."

The second underlying assumption is, not only would we have traveled in style but that we would be among the survivors.


A higher % of 3rd class women survived, than 1st class men.

That says a lot about the moral code of the time.

PS: The class distinction during the age of large scale immigration was ultimately about who had to go to Ellis Island for screening.

traditionalguy said...

Titanic was named for the elder Greek gods called the Titans who once ruled the earth before other Greek gods overthrew them.

Perhaps it was fitting that the menue was superb French cuisine which is man's greates creation was being served on that ship that all said could overcome the powers in the seas... until along came an encounter with Levithan of the sea, and the Titanic's proud claims were lost in that encounter.

People are facinated with seeing that those proud claims of industrial age engineers being wiped out by the old sea gods.

And how is Japan's engineering prowess fighting the sea gods doing these days?

MadisonMan said...

Wouldn't a cruise on Lake Mendota -- is it the Betty Lou? -- be more appropriate?

bagoh20 said...

Apparently, there is more than one iceberg photographed near the time and place of the sinking, and so some dispute, but this is the one reportedly with the paint on it. It wasn't that large according to passengers (200-400 ft long and 100 ft high.) There are icebergs that get larger than the Titanic, and certainly a glacier is the largest moving thing on the earth...when Obama's ego is asleep.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Titanic_iceberg.jpg

ricpic said...

Can someone explain the fascination the Titanic holds for so many? Is there anything more to it than the fascination of a multi-car pileup to those who slow down to 5 MPH in order to drink it in?

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger The Drill SGT said...

LarsPorsena said...
"..I think what it bothers me is the underlying assumption that, were we there, we would naturally be part of the First or Second Class .."

The second underlying assumption is, not only would we have traveled in style but that we would be among the survivors.

A higher % of 3rd class women survived, than 1st class men.

That says a lot about the moral code of the time.

PS: The class distinction during the age of large scale immigration was ultimately about who had to go to Ellis Island for screening.

4/11/12 9:54 AM

_______________________________

Yep! Wealth was inversely proportional to surviving.

The males in first class were the epitome of the 'women and children first' code of chivalry.

Scott M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher in MA said...

Can someone explain the fascination the Titanic holds for so many?,

Nostaliga, I think, as well as an inchoate sense that the world, despite its flaws, was somehow better then. Walter Lord, he of the enthralling A Night To Remember (and its weaker followup The Night Lives On wrote a book covering the years 1900-1914 called The Good Years, which, while not shying away from the poverty and tragedy of those times, still throbs with an underlying sadness for a something - gentility, a sense of progress to a better world - a Panglossian belief that things would always work out for the best - ripped away by the war.

It's also conditioning, as well. For a great many people, the prewar era is a Hollywood My Fair Lady or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fantasy, no matter how many 1900 House reality shows tell us differently.

bagoh20 said...

"Can someone explain the fascination the Titanic holds for so many?"

It's not just one thing - it's the combination of a many great ones:

1) The state of the art modern technology of the time.

2) The hubris of unsinkability at a time when confidence was at a peak (before WWI shook it hard).

3) The time scale. It was not sudden. People had time to realize what was happening to them, to think, to decide, to act and interact.

4) The presence of the whole complement of classes from very rich to very poor, multiple ethnicities and occupations, and all ages which led to -

5 - ...) The multiple dramatic human tragedies of the poor being sacrificed, the life boats leaving less than full and not returning in time to save people, the heroic acts of many and the despicable ones of others. The slow loss of family members before the eyes of their loved ones as they stood by helpless.

Etc, etc.

It has so much stuff wrapped up in it that it would be vastly over-ambitious if it was a novel.

Incredible story.

edutcher said...

Went with #2.

That's why a lot of people died in their 40s and 50s back then.

PS I'll go, but I gotta bring my snorkel stuff.

edutcher said...

PS Very poignant video here, ending with the ship.

Needs Javascript turned on.

Christopher in MA said...

Frederic Morton's A Nervous Splendor, while not covering the same territory (he describes events in Vienna in 1889, the year the Crown Prince Rudolf, son of Emperor Franz Josef, shot himself at his hunting lodge at Mayerling), also works the same territory as The Good Years, his counterfactual conclusion being that had Rudolf lived, he could have prevented WWI.

Morton did a followup a few years later called Thunder at Twilight, which is a sort of lesser version of Splendor, covering the years 1913-1914 and working on the assumption that Franz Ferdinand was actually a dove who, had the attempt on his life failed, would have kept the peace in Europe and checked Wilhelm II.

The Drill SGT said...

LarsPorsena said...
The males in first class were the epitome of the 'women and children first' code of chivalry.


The original source of the saying is the ultimate source.

The HMS Birkenhead was holed and sinking off South Africa in 1845. There was only room in the one small boat for 20 women and children. The senior Army officer mustered the Battalion on deck in ranks (500 men). Just before she sank, the Captain called out that "all those who can swim jump overboard, and make for the boats". Colonel Seton, however, recognising that rushing the lifeboats would risk swamping them and endangering the women and children, ordered the men to stand fast, and only three men made the attempt. The cavalry horses were freed and driven into the sea in the hope that they might be able to swim ashore.

The soldiers did not move
, even as the ship broke up barely 20 minutes after striking the rock. Some of the soldiers managed to swim the 2 miles (3.2 km) to shore over the next 12 hours, often hanging on to pieces of the wreck to stay afloat, but most drowned, died of exposure or were taken by sharks.


500 men
3 were cowards
the rest stayed in ranks till the ship went down, then tried for shore.
none endangered the single small boat with the women in it.
2/3's died

sydney said...

A few years back there was a popular travelling Titanic show that went around to science museums, etc. They gave you a ticket at the beginning of the tour with the name of one of the passengers on it. At the end of the exhibit, you could find out their fate. It was very moving.

Rebecca said...

My local wine store is having a "wines from the Titanic" tasting the Saturday. Luckily it will only be a $5 tasting.

Cedarford said...

Too much fixation on the Titanic. It sells the great history of the era of cruise liners short - to dwell on just one vessel.

The era of travel by liners is over, save the cruise ships that meander about on trips to nowhere. But when it existed, 1830s to 1950s, it was an amazing, well-oiled logistics machine that linked with rail and globalized the world for mass movement of peoples and goods in a few weeks. As impressive as some of the works from that era like the modern hospital, the Golden Gate Bridge, clean water to 100s of millions to wipe out communicable diseases.

People who trace an ancestor moving about the globe by what rails they rode, the ships they took, the hotels they stayed at - and yes, trivial things like the menus of the day from 1st class to steerage - and events they saw - tend to be impressed with the world
100-60 years ago.

TWM said...

Speaking of Titanic . . . is this too soon?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=is77lMqcLA4

bagoh20 said...

Cool video, edutcher. It shows thousands of people in 1912, and as far as I could tell only one person in the entire thing was shown without a hat on, man or woman.

Gene said...

I once looked at the dinner menu for the Titanic the night it sunk. It seems to me the first course was ox-tail soup and it went downhill from there. Even on the Titanic, I don't think the British were famed for their cuisine. Of course, good wine makes up for a lot.

KLDAVIS said...

The first course (in 1st Class, at least) was Oysters.

The Drill SGT said...

RMS Titanic First Class Dinner Menu
April 14, 1912
Hors D'oeuvre Varies
Oysters


Consomme Olga
Cream of Barley



Salmon, Mousseline Sauce, Cucumber


Filet Mignons Lili
Saute of Chicken, Lyonnaise
Vegetable Marrow Farcie


Lamb, Mint Sauce
Roast Duckling, Apple Sauce
Sirloin of Beef, Chateau Potatoes

Green Peas
Creamed Carrots

Boiled Rice
Parmentier & Boiled New Potatoes


Punch Romaine


Roast Squab & Cress
Cold Asparagus Vinaigrette
Pate De Foie Gras
Celery


Waldorf Pudding
Peaches in Chartreube Jelly
Chocolate & Vanilla Eclairs
French Ice Cream

bagoh20 said...

That menu kicks the crap out of any I ever saw on a modern cruse. Progress.

KLDAVIS said...

"Vegetable Marrow Farcie"

Heh...that's stuffed zucchini to us non-Google Translators.

It's an interesting menu. And, I find historical dining to be fun. I went to the Paris 1906 edition of Next Restaurant and loved the food/concept.

I'd like to try Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly. That photo of the menu actually came from the Chartreuse distillery in Voiron, France. They had it in a little display about Chartreuse on the Titanic.

Alex said...

You might say the sinking of the H.M.S. Titanic broke Britain's sense of innocence. Then the last of it was destroyed on the Somme in 1916.

Christopher in MA said...

Slight nitpick, Alex - she was the RMS Titanic, standing for Royal Mail Steamer. I'm open to correction, but I believe the designation HMS (His or Her Majesty's Ship) applies only to naval vessels.

Freeman Hunt said...

... an excellent place. 11 courses, $100 with "wine pairings."

Of course one would go!

Gene said...

KLDavis: The first course (in 1st Class, at least) was Oysters.

I see you're right. All I remembered from from the menu was the oxtail soup and now I see it was actually cream of barley.

Everything else sounds great to me now. I can't imagine how I came away thinking that the food was so terrible.