by Terri Bey
Since the theme for the Titanic Book Club's November is "Dining and Food on the Titanic, I would like to discuss an activity that is part of the annual Titanic Conference in Pigeon Forge, TN, and a very special meal that we attendees ate.
This past August, I attended the 2021 Titanic Conference in Pigeon Forge. TN, led by Bill Willard, who led the 1996 and 1998 Titanic Expeditions which eventually raised the "Big Piece" from the wreck site. It is a four-day conference where Titanic authors, experts, and enthusiasts get together and listen to guest speakers, go on a trip to the Titanic Museum Attraction, and do other activities. This is an awesome conference and I highly recommend any Titanic enthusiast attending.
One of the activities included the Titanic Memorial Dinner at the Titanic Museum Attraction in a private room. We all dress up and many attendees dress in 1912 attire. We eat a nice dinner and then watch commemorative videos of the passengers who traveled on the ill-fated ship to the music of Robin Gibb's "Don't Cry Alone," from his "Titanic Requiem." Yes, that Robin Gibb. After dinner, we have a group photo taken on the Grand Staircase of the Attraction.
"Don't Cry Alone" from "Titanic Requiem" by Robin Gibb
The Titanic Passengers Memorial Dinner is a very solemn and emotional event as several relatives of passengers, both survivors and victims attend this conference. This year's dinner was different as usually we are served buffet-style. However, due to the pandemic, we were served plated. The settings were nice and we all had name placards at our tables.
We were served food from the final Lunch Menu that the First Class passengers ate on April 14, 1912, the final night on the Titanic. The image below is the menu from which the meal I am about to describe came. According to the article, Titanic Lunch Menu Sells for $122,000 at Auction (businessinsider.com), the menu belonged to the family of Dr. Washing Dodge and his family, until it was auctioned off by auctioneers Henry Aldrich and Sons. Dodge's wife Ruth put the menu in her purse as a souvenir. Little did she know that disaster was awaiting everyone aboard the great line and how valuable that menu would be.
Source: Business Insider.
The first dish served was a bowl of Cockie Leeky Soup, as an appetizer. The ingredients are Beef Stock, Leeks, and Chicken. I didn't think I was going to like the leeks in the soup, but I found the soup to be very delicious.
Cocky Leeky Soup. Photo by Terri Bey
As you can see on the menu, there was plenty of food from which to choose. It really was a shame that COVID protocols prevented us from having the buffet option because I really would have chosen the roast beef. However, what we had was very nice which was a slice of Virginia Ham, Baked Jacket Potato, Peas, a side of Baked Apples, and a roll of bread. For dessert, we had an Eclair.
Our Meal: Virginia Ham, Baked Jacket Potato, Peas, Baked Apples, and a roll. Eclair for Dessert
Photo: Terri Bey
This was a great experience eating from the menu from the grandest ship in the world at that time. I tried to imagine myself aboard the RMS Titanic at lunch and perhaps seeing Benjamin Guggenheim or Margaret Brown. As I ate, I had to remind myself that this meal was to be one of the last meals that some of those passengers would ever eat, and that was sobering.
Thank you for reading