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Diehard buffs gather to enjoy Titanic victims' last meal

invitation April 16, 1997
Web posted at: 5:30 a.m. EDT

From Correspondent Jeanne Moos

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Eighty-five years after the sinking of the Titanic, there's Titanic the musical, Titanic the movie, Titanic artifacts and Titanic the Web site.

But you haven't experienced anything until you've eaten the last dinner from the Titanic.

"It's superb, extremely rich, but that's all I'd expect from Titanic food," said one happy adventurer.


Maybe you think it's a little morbid for a classy New York restaurant like the Halcyon to re-enact the last dinner served on the Titanic, but it all started with a book.

"It's weird until you open the book," said Rich Archbold, co- author of "Last Dinner on the Titanic," which features pictures of the liner's dining rooms, names of the rich and famous who were there and the actual menu served in First Class just hours before the ship went down.

"At first I wasn't going to come, but it's a celebration. Of what, I don't know," said one of the evening's more eccentric diners.

Between the courses, diners got a little course about the food served aboard the doomed ship. For instance, did you know the ocean liner had 800 bundles of asparagus onboard before it crashed?

cook book

Not enough time

The food is based on recipes from the "Last Dinner on the Titanic," but the Halcyon's chef changed one detail -- he limited the evening to just five courses.

"It was 11 courses in the dining room of the Titanic that evening," said executive chef John Halligan. "To get everybody out by 11:30 p.m., before the ship actually went down, we had to do only five courses."

And we're not talking Weight Watchers meals. We're talking courses ranging from salmon with a very heavy mousseline sauce to filet mignon. The asparagus was served on leaf lettuce -- not iceberg.


Who would attend such a gloomy re-enactment dinner? Well, Titanic buffs, of course. There's the woman who's doing her masters degree thesis on images of the Titanic. And the guy who runs a chartered diving boat off Long Island; he came with artifacts he says the captain of the Queen Elizabeth II loaned him.

"This is a liquor bottle from the Titanic and a spoon," he displayed proudly.

The worst thing dished out during the evening had to be the lame Titanic jokes, such as the suggestions of Life Savers or upside-down cake for dessert.

The only problem with the Halcyon's re-enactment: If you eat like they ate on the Titanic, you're likely to end up gigantic.


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