I thought it might be fun to compare yesterday’s breakfast menu from the S.S. Hakusan Maru with one from a ship of the same era, but a different shipping line.
Today we are breakfasting aboard the R.M.S Aquitania. The ship was (along with RMS Lusitania and RMS Mauretania) one of the three jewels in the Cunard Company’s crown in the pre-war years. She was launched in May 1914, and set off on her maiden voyage was to New York. A month later, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand was the spark that ignited World War I, and the Aquitania was requisitioned for war purposes. The Aquitania was again requisitioned for military purposes when World War II broke out, and she served the post-war purpose too, when she was chartered to transport war brides and their children to Canada.
On January 27, 1937, passengers (the class is not specified) aboard the Cunard liner R.M.S Aquitania sat down at breakfast to a fine list of dishes that I can only describe as Anglo-American (I especially love the choice of ‘Griddle Cakes with Maple or Golden Syrup’ !)
R.M.S. AQUITANIA WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 1937
Grape Fruit Apples Oranges Bananas
Stewed Figs Compote of Prunes Compote of Pears
Quaker Oats Hominy Grape Nuts
Bonny Boy Toasted Oats Puffed Rice Bran Flakes
Corn Flakes Force Oatmeal
Fried Fillets of Flounder and Lemon
Broiled Yarmouth Bloaters
Broiled Smoked Wiltshire, Irish, and Pale Bacon
Grilled York Ham
Eggs – to Order – Fried, Turned, Boiled, Poached
To Order – Omelettes, Plain and Jelly
American Dry Hash Cakes
Roast Beef – Horseradish Sauce Bologna Sauce London Brawn
Rolled Ox Tongue York Ham and Jelly
Watercress Radishes Spring Onions
Griddle Cakes with Maple or Golden Syrup
Hot Rolls Scones Swedish, Rye and White Bread
Tea- India, Ceylon and China
Ovaltine Coffee Cocoa Jams, Honey and Marmalade
Horlicks Malted Milk (Plain and Flavoured)
Cadbury’s Cup Chocolate
The mystery to me on this menu is – what is ‘Pale Bacon’? For the time being it must join Fried Rice Pudding on my To Be Researched list.
I hope that the muffins on this menu were not in the style of ‘cakes for breakfast’ but were the original ‘English’ type, raised with yeast and cooked on a griddle. Here is the thoroughly American Miss Maria Parloa’s version from her eponymous cookbook:
One quart of flour, one teaspoonful of salt, one-third of a cake of compressed yeast, or one-third of a cupful of liquid yeast; one cupful and a half of water. Have the water blood warm. Dissolve the yeast in one-third of a cupful of cold water. Add it and the salt to the warm water, and gradually stir into the flour. Beat the dough thoroughly; cover, and let it rise in a warm place until it is spongy (about five hours). Sprinkle the bread board with flour. Shape the dough into balls about twice the size of an egg, and drop them on the floured board. When all the dough has been shaped, roll the balls into cakes about one-third of an inch thick. Lay these on a warm griddle, which has been lightly greased, and put the griddle on the back of the stove, where there is not much heat. When the cakes have risen a little, draw the griddle forward and cook them slowly, turning often, to keep the flat shape. It will take about twenty minutes for them to rise on the griddle, and fifteen to cook. Tear them apart, butter them, and serve.
Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book (New York, 1882)
I'm intrigued by the jelly omelette. And I think I can easily imagine its preparation.
I also like the savories for breakfast: watercress, radishes, onions.
I wonder when a breakfast in America became such a hotbed of sugar and calories.
My questions are two: among the cereals and porridges there is something called Force, which I saw on yesterday's menu also. Is or was that a brand of British breakfast cereal? And what is Hovis? These are both beyond the ken of a California boy. Thanks, Janet!
I don't know about the fried rice pudding but pale bacon was another name for green/unsmoked bacon. I suppose someone of a tender disposition thought pale bacon sounded nicer than green bacon.
Pale bacon would be unsmoked or green bacon I think.
Cold "griddle cakes" with syrup? No! They should be hot!
Hovis is a brand name; I can't recall if it was the bread or the pan it was baked in (with a lid, such as would be used for pain-de-mie). It might be a whole wheat-type loaf, but I'm not sure.
It's rather like saying you're hoovering the carpet. Your vacuum cleaner might be made by some other company, but the brand has become a verb.
Thank you, Sandra.
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