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Food on the Titanic: From First to Third Class

Written By Denis Cummings
Last updated: April 16, 2024

As a history buff with a soft spot for culinary tales, uncovering the stories behind the food on the Titanic feels like stepping back in time. Within this article, we’ll embark on a journey across the various classes aboard the infamous ship, from first-class opulence to third-class simplicity.

I’ll lead you through the grand dining settings of the elite, to the hearty meals that fed passengers in third class, peeking into Titanic’s kitchen galley and wrapping up with its last legendary meal. Join me as we delve into what they ate on the Titanic and perhaps find inspiration to bring a taste of history into our kitchens.

Food on the Titanic Through the Classes

On the Titanic, food was not just a matter of sustenance; it symbolized one’s place in the social hierarchy. The differences in dining experiences across various classes serve as a window into the societal norms of the early 20th century. Let’s dive into this fascinating aspect of life on board.

Food on the Titanic Through the Classes
FeatureFirst ClassSecond ClassThird Class
Dining AreaOpulent dining roomsBright & airy dining saloonsBasic & clean dining areas
AmbianceHigh-end restaurantComfortableSimple
Table SettingFine linen, silverware & crystalModestBasic
Menu StyleExtravagantMix of high-end & modest dishesHearty & Simple
Sample StartersOysters, caviarCreamed barley or vegetable soupPorridge & milk, Cabin Biscuits
Sample MainsPoached salmon, lamb with mint sauce, sirloin of beefBaked haddock, curried chicken, roast turkeyBoiled potatoes & vegetables, herring, corned beef
Sample DessertsChocolate & vanilla éclairs, French ice creamPlum pudding, coconut sandwich, fruit cheesecakeStewed apricots, roast pork, simple pudding, fruit
BeveragesExtensive wine & spirits listLikely included tea & coffeeTea
Overall ExperienceDesigned to impress the most discerning palateDelicious meals exceeding expectationsSimple yet abundant, focus on nourishment

First Class

In first class, passengers enjoyed the pinnacle of luxury when it came to dining. The ambiance mirrored that of a high-end restaurant, with:

  • Opulent dining rooms that could easily make you forget you were at sea.
  • Tables dressed in fine linen, shining silverware, and sparkling crystal.

The menu was nothing short of extravagant, offering dishes like:

  • Oysters and caviar for starters.
  • Consommé Olga (a delicate beef broth) or cream of barley soup.
  • A variety of mains including poached salmon with mousseline sauce, lamb with mint sauce, sirloin of beef with chateau potatoes, roast duckling with apple sauce, and filet mignons lili.
  • Not to forget an array of desserts like chocolate & vanilla éclairs or French ice cream.

This lavish selection was accompanied by an impressive list of wines and spirits. Dining in first class aboard Titanic was designed to impress even the most discerning palate.

Second Class

The second-class dining experience on Titanic wasn’t nearly as opulent as first class but still surpassed expectations for what we might think a ‘middle-class’ meal would entail at that time. Here’s what second-class passengers could expect:

  • Bright and airy dining saloons that offered comfort without extravagance.
  • Menus featured a mix of high-end offerings and more modest dishes such as:
  • Soup: Creamed barley or vegetable soup started off their meals.
  • Mains: Baked haddock with sharp sauce, curried chicken with rice; roast turkey with cranberry sauce; corned beef; and vegetable stew were among choices likely tailored to suit middle-class tastes but still carrying a hint of luxury.
  • Desserts: Plum pudding, coconut sandwich along fruit cheesecake offered a sweet end to the meals.

Even though second-class food didn’t rival first-class luxuries, it provided delicious meals making travel enjoyable for passengers who didn’t have deep pockets but still appreciated good fare.

Third Class

Dining for third-class passengers onboard Titanic was simple yet abundant—catering mostly to working-class families and immigrants. Comforting feels came from:

  • Basic but clean dining areas meant large groups could eat together.

Third-class menus highlighted hearty meals consisting mainly of:

  • Breakfast often included porridge and milk or “Cabin Biscuits” alongside tea—a simple yet filling start to their day.
  • Lunch might consist of soup, followed by boiled potatoes and vegetables, with perhaps herring or corned beef on the side.
  • Dinner was similarly hearty, offering passengers a choice between dishes like stewed apricots with rice or roast pork with sage and onions. Desserts were simple, often a pudding or seasonal fruit.

Despite its simplicity, the food in third class was plentiful and nutritious, ensuring that all passengers, regardless of their ticket class, were well-fed during their voyage. This approach to meal provision speaks volumes about the ship’s aim to maintain a healthy and satisfied onboard community.

Also Read: When Did the Titanic Sink? [Piecing Together the Timeline]

Beyond the Menus: A Glimpse into the Titanic’s Galley

From first-class folks feasting on fancy dishes to third-class travelers enjoying hearty meals, keeping everyone happy was no small feat. Let’s take a peek behind the scenes at what it took to keep the Titanic’s kitchens, or galleys, running smoothly.

Food on the Titanic Through the Classes
  • A Massive Inventory of Ingredients: To make sure there was enough food for the voyage, the Titanic stocked up on huge amounts of ingredients. Imagine loading over 75,000 pounds of meat, 40 tons of potatoes, and 40,000 eggs onto a ship! This huge stash was essential for preparing meals multiple times a day for over 2,200 people.
  • Well-Organized Kitchens: The galleys were like well-oiled machines. Each class had its own kitchen setup ensuring that meals could be made quickly and efficiently without any mix-ups. With separate spaces for baking bread (imagine fresh loaves every day!), preparing soups, and handling meats and poultry – it was like a town full of chefs within the ship!
  • Hardworking Staff: It wasn’t just about having lots of food or big kitchens; it was about having skilled hands at work too. Over 60 cooks worked tirelessly alongside kitchen staff to chop vegetables, and ready cuts of meat and fish each day. Their early starts and late finishes ensured everyone aboard had three square meals a day.
  • Smart Menu Planning: The chefs aboard didn’t just cook whatever they felt like; everything had to be planned in advance to ensure they wouldn’t run out of ingredients halfway through their journey across the Atlantic. They carefully chose recipes that could feed many without sacrificing quality or taste.
  • Keeping Up with High Demand: A big challenge was making sure that each dish served was as good as if it were made in a fine dining restaurant on land. This required not only top-notch skills in cooking but also in time management to serve everyone at their designated meal times without long waits.
  • A Look at Special Requests: Besides daily meal preparation, chefs had to cater to special dietary needs or requests from passengers. Crafting special dishes on such a massive scale showed how flexible and prepared this culinary team truly was.

The operation behind providing Food on the RMS Titanic is impressive when you break down what went into planning menus all while ensuring top-quality dishes could be produced en masse during their voyage across the sea. It’s clear that feeding such a diverse group under these unique circumstances took careful preparation and dedicated teamwork – making food on the Titanic an amazing achievement in itself!

Also Read: Who Found Titanic? [The Man Behind the Mission]

The Legacy of Titanic’s Final Meal

When we think about the Titanic, it’s not just the grandeur of the ship or its tragic story that captures our imagination, but also smaller, more intimate details like what was on the menu during its final hours. The last meal served on this magnificent vessel is a reflection of the time period’s culinary sophistication and social stratigraphy.

Food on the Titanic Through the Classes

The evening before Titanic met its fate, passengers in different sections of the ship sat down for their respective meals. These weren’t just ordinary dinners; they encapsulated an era known for its elaborate dining customs. Each class had a menu that mirrored their social status, yet all were partaking in an essential human pleasure: enjoying good food.

First-Class Passengers: They experienced dining at its finest, with menus featuring multiple courses that included delicacies such as oysters, lamb with mint sauce, and roasted duckling with apple sauce. The first-class dining saloon was a sight to behold, an opulent setting fitting for such lavish fare.

Second-Class Passengers: Their meal was simpler but still upscale – baked haddock, curried chicken and rice, and plum pudding were among the dishes designed to provide comfort yet mirror upper-class tastes at a lower price point.

Third-Class Passengers: Simplicity ruled here with wholesome foods like vegetable soup and roast pork. It was hearty fare intended to satisfy hardworking individuals who needed nourishing meals for energy.

The menus on Titanic’s Last Evening are more than just lists of dishes; they’re snapshots of a bygone age that highlight Edwardian society’s complexity. Moreover, they underscore how food serves as both sustenance and a symbol of one’s place in the world. As we look back from our vantage point today, Titanic’s final meal stands out as a poignant reminder of life’s fragility and the comforts we turn to in times both good and bad.

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What food was eaten on the Titanic?

The food on the Titanic varied greatly by class. First-class passengers enjoyed high-end meals like lamb with mint sauce and roast duckling, while third-class passengers had simpler fare such as soup, bread, and potatoes.

What was the last meal on the Titanic?

The last meal served to first-class passengers included an impressive variety of options like oysters, filet mignon, salmon with mousseline sauce, and chocolate & vanilla eclairs.

What did they drink on the Titanic?

Passengers on the Titanic drank a wide range of beverages. In first-class it included fine wines, champagnes, and spirits. Second and third classes had access to beer, tea, and coffee.

Where did the crew eat on the Titanic?

The crew of the Titanic ate in separate dining areas reserved for them. Their menu featured simple yet hearty meals designed to keep them energized for their duties aboard.


Looking back at the food on the Titanic, it’s clear that meals were more than just a necessity; they were an experience that varied greatly depending on the class. From lavish first-class dinners to hearty third-class offers, each meal told a story of social standing, expectations, and era-appropriate dining norms.

The ship’s last dinner remains an enduring symbol of the Titanic’s luxury and tragedy combined. By exploring what people ate aboard this famous vessel, we get a taste of life in 1912 and understand how food served as both sustenance and status.

Ready to explore more intriguing historical insights? Visit our site for captivating stories from the past!

Charles Eames

Denis Cummings is a history enthusiast and author, with a passion for uncovering the stories of the past. Through his writing, he seeks to share his love of history with others and provide a unique perspective on the events that have shaped our world.

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