Transatlantic travel, back in the golden age of kitted-out, wood-and-brass ocean-liners, is celebrated for many reasons, including the power of the ships, the elegance of design, and the speed at which the big boats hummed along.
Those big boats also housed incredibly elegant eateries, complete with starched tablecloths, gleaming flatware, and lavishly gourmet menus that would rival any multi-star restaurant found on dry land.
The Queen Mary's maiden voyage menu is a testament to this time, when seven- and eight-course meals rich in fancy foodstuffs were de rigueur aboard the world's luxury liners. And the Long Beach-based queen will again revisit her very first menu, on Thursday, May 26, in honor of the 80th anniversary of the ship's maiden voyage.
What to do, where to go and what to see
True, history-inspired entrees have been served aboard the permanently docked ship before, but the May 26 menu is rather special, in that it "ranks as the maiden voyage of any multi-course meal served on the ship."
How gastronomic will the glam'd-up grub get? Prepare your palate for Croute-au-Pot au Pomme Perles and Cotes Courtes Braisée Belle Mère, which should summon tasty memories of the ship's first foray, along with several other swanky dishes.
"While the Queen Mary has previously re-created historic menus to mark important events, the creation of this particular menu was difficult as no records of the meal are present in our archives," reveals Todd Henderson, the Queen Mary's chef.
Staffers went back to the history books detailing the ship's maiden voyage to glean the information needed to build the celebratory menu. Deep research, and a bit of imagination, helped the Chef Henderson and the culinary team concoct the long-ago feast (a feast that will, of course, include modern-day ingredients and techniques).
The special supper isn't the only 80th-themed party on the famous boat; Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill's great-grandson, will visit the ship to unveil a gallery show of his great-grandfather's paintings.
The Queen Mary served as Sir Churchill's "office at sea" during World War II, when it was better known as "The Grey Ghost," a troopship that had temporarily left passenger service.
Mr. Churchill will speak after the dinner, which will take place in the Grand Salon.
If you know your Queen Mary stuff, then you know the airy Art-Deco'd space was once the First Class Dining Room. So you'll be sitting right where '30s-era eaters once sat, clinking their crystal and gesturing with shiny spoons as they talked about the matters of the day, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
For all of the 80th anniversary doings at the storied ship, cast your line this way.