One of the things we have tried to do with the kids, is find creative ways to learn about historical events. And yes, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic seemed like a perfect time for something a little different. I suppose we COULD have watched Leonardo DiCaprio sink into the sea, but that seemed a little too predictable. So instead we decided to turn our learning into a "dinner experience."
In looking about online, I managed to find all sorts of interesting facts & photos to make tonight's dinner as authentic as possible. One of the more shocking facts is that the most expensive 1st class tickets aboard the Titanic cost $4350... in 1912! The average third class ticket on the other hand, cost $30. With numbers like that, (and after staring aghast at the 10-course meal that was served in first class) I decided it would make the most sense to dine as if we were third class passengers.
When Mrs. Sarah Roth, a third class passenger aboard the Titanic was rescued, she discovered she had managed to save a copy of the third class menu within her handbag. It was sold seven years ago for $44,650, but lucky for us images of this were EVERYWHERE on the internet, so a printed copy became part of our centerpiece alongside a vase of roses. On the menu for dinnertime (tea) on April 14th 1912 was:
* Cold Meat
* Fresh Bread & Butter
* Stewed Figs & Rice
* and of course Tea.
We substituted rice pudding for the stewed figs & rice because I had NO idea where to shop for fresh figs in April. Other than that, the menu was followed exactly.
Because the kids are constantly telling me that, while I require essays from them I never write them myself, I wrote a two-page micro essay describing what life aboard the Titanic would have been like, complete with photos of several of the rooms and a printed copy of a third class ticket.
There were printed images of first-class (I know, I know... but they were prettier!) boarding tickets at each place, and to our dinner & servingware I glued printouts of the White Star logo - to simulate the stoneware actually used in 3rd class and by the crew aboard the Titanic. I also found a list of songs played by the White Star Line (for 1st & 2nd class... but it was still music popular at the right time!) that played softly in the background while we ate.
The kids are about to start watching the documentary Titanica, before we all play Just Dance together... as third class passengers would have finished their night singing & dancing in the general room. It's been an interesting evening so far, and the kids really seemed to love discussing the differences between 1st & 3rd class life.
We will NOT however be going on any boats tonight!