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Jan 27, 2012 03:42 PM

At Titanic Themed Dinner Club - Bad Taste?

I'm in a Dinner Club with 4 other couples. We've been doing this for 20+ years and the themes vary. Some time countries, some times not. My turn is coming up in April. I had planned on doing a Titanic Theme, as it falls in on the 100th Anniversary. I thought it would be fun to dredge up some old victorian recipes and honor those lost. But given the latest luxury liner disaster, off the coast of Italy, in recent weeks, I'm beginning to question my choice and wonder if it seems in bad taste? These are all close friends so I'm not concerned about offending anyone. But I feel a little 'off' and alot less excited about the plan now.

I'm having a hard time deciding to go ahead or make a new plan. Do any Chowfriends have an thoughts one way or another?

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  1. In my group of friends, the worse the taste, the more enjoyable the evening. But obviously you know your own friends best!

    1. Probably no worse than an Achille Lauro, Morro Castle, Lusitania or Costa Concordia party - whatever floats your boat.


      1 Reply
      1. you're not calling it a Costa Concordia Theme Dinner! the Titanic is history. Do it, enjoy, report back please!

        1. Do you think in 90 years it would be in good taste for people to have a 9/11-themed dinner party? There' s your answer.

          27 Replies
          1. re: ttoommyy

            Thank you.

            If the OP thought the question needed be asked in order to form an opinion, he knew the answer.

            1. re: ttoommyy

              Even though they're both tragedies, I don't think of a horrible accident and mass murder in quite the same way, especially after so much time has passed. The Titanic, The Hindenburg, and even parties themed on the excesses of Roman rulers like Caligula, may push the boundaries of good taste but somehow, to me, don't seem to be in the same league with more recent mass murder events. I can't compare a Titanic party to a 9/11 themed party or a concentration camp or a Jonestown themed party either. Questionable taste? Maybe, but not in the same league with the others.
              I'm not trying to say it's OK, I'm just saying it's not quite the same as a 9/11 party would be.

              1. re: bobbert

                Death and tragedy are always just that...death and tragedy. I would never celebrate either event with a party, no matter how you justify it. That is just my opinion. I wonder what relatives of the victims of the Titanic would say to such a party?

                1. re: ttoommyy

                  Not all tragedy is created equal.

                  Moreover, OP is not celebrating the tragedy of the Titanic. As OP says, they are honoring those lost. If the Titanic is too much of a powderkeg, I give OP permission to have a traditional German feast in honor of my great-great grandfather who died in a tragic sheepherding accident in the hills of southern Germany almost 100 years ago. I don't give a hoot.

              2. re: ttoommyy

                um, there was no food at the 9/11 tragedy. there were definitely many sumptuous meals on the Titanic before it went down, as a luxury liner. two very, very different things. he's not celebrating a ship going down and people losing their lives, he's recreating a menu from an event in history that we know had an elaborate, elegant meal.

                i know others and other dinner clubs have used the Titanic as a theme meal in the past. so how long does one have to wait after the admittedly very terrible Italian tragedy to make it in good taste? never? it's just a party among friends, it's just food. he may have had some qualms, which is why he/she asked for opinions. to me, the only thing the OP should take away from the naysayers here is to not invite them to his party. it sounds like his/her friends are a little more easygoing.

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  In your mind the events are not alike, in my mind they are: two tragic events that killed a lot of people and left families grieving for years and years. Justify it any way you care to, but by calling it a Titanic party one is celebrating the event. Why not just celebrate the food of the era instead and leave the Titanic out of it altogether then? In my opinion it is morbid and in bad taste.

                  1. re: ttoommyy

                    That's what I was thinking -- you could have a Victorian Splendour (make sure you spell it like Victoria would have!) and have the same sorts of dishes without a blatant connection to a tragedy.

                    (and we'll only mention in passing that 3/4 of the folks aboard were in steerage and lucky to get a sandwich that night...)

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      Inequality. Now there's your tragedy.

                      1. re: Cachetes

                        Just that if you're going to celebrate the last meal of the Titanic, it's a big disingenuous to ONLY choose what the first-class passengers were eating -- when most of the passengers died hungry.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          You make a great point. It could probably be said of a lot of celebrations. Great point.

                  2. re: mariacarmen

                    Hm-m, not sure about that. While not being served, as the Twin Towers fell, Windows on the World, plus many employees, went down with the towers. Maybe you can find holes in that logic, but somehow, I doubt it. The night before 09/11/2001, there were several hundred meals served to the diners.


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      um, yeah, what i meant was, there was nothing about 9-11 that had to do with food. A luxury liner does feature food as one of its luxuries.

                  3. re: ttoommyy

                    Two different things all together. 9/11 was an act of war against Americans on our own soil.

                    The Titanic, and the Costa Concordia to a much lesser degree, were tragedies but not acts of war.

                    Either way, I couldn't choose to do it, but that's just me. I have a sick and twisted sense of humor in many other ways, though.

                    1. re: jlhinwa

                      No, just acts of human stupidity and carelessness! Paaartaaay!!!

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        ttoommy, as I said above, I wouldn't choose to have a party celebrating the anniversary of the Titanic (or anything of that nature) for the reasons pointed out throughout this thread. I don't feel good about making light of the loss of life whether it was 100 years ago or last week.

                        I also maintain that in terms of awful days in history, the Titanic sinking and 9/11 are two very different events. An act of war/murder on Americans is different than an accident. Still, they both resulted in tragic loss of life and I couldn't "celebrate" either one of those events in a tongue in cheek manner.

                    2. re: ttoommyy

                      Actually I would not necessarily be offended by an occasion honoring either the Titanic, or 9/11. It would depend on the wording and the context. If I received an invitation stating "we are commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 by recreating the menu from Windows on the World" or "a menu consisting of some great dishes originating in New York," I would not find it objectionable. No one is saying "yippee!"

                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                        well put, reasonable and sensible, LN. as always.

                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                          Ha. They can eat trans fats and salt and smoke cigarettes- all things that were not banned at the time.

                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                            Well put! There's a difference between commemorating a historical event vs. having a party/celebration.

                          2. re: ttoommyy

                            So odd that people get all worked up about a Titanic themed party but probably don't mind in the least that Thanksgiving originated on the eve of one of history's greatest genocides.

                            IMO it's a dinner party, and there's no malice involved. The 'bad taste' crowd are over-thinking the matter.

                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                I don't celebrate Thanksgiving for that very reason.

                                On the other hand, I wouldn't be terribly upset by the thought of a Titanic-themed dinner party.
                                For those who find such a theme in poor taste, I'd agree that a party celebrating the era would be fine. Even shifting the emphasis to 'cuisine enjoyed on luxury liners circa 1911, such as might have been served on the Titanic,' rather than specifically 'the last meal served on the Titanic.'

                              2. re: ttoommyy

                                I don't think the two situations are comparable. The Titanic hit an iceberg. That was an accident. The events of September 11, 2001 were not an accident.

                                I can understand how someone might question the tastefulness of a Titanic themed dinner party. Go with your instinct. Personally, I would not have a problem with it since even most of the children of those on board are dead by now.

                                1. re: John E.

                                  Well, the thing is, the food orientation of these parties tends towards the lux end, and thereby underscores the very problem with the ship: the criminal lack of due care for the 99%, as it were. That lack of care was not the crime of a terrorist, but more the more ordinary customary thoughtlessness by the 1%. So, yes, the situations are different, but it's an opportune moment to remember how things don't change in some ways: the tendency to want to identify more with the haves lots rather than the haves not so lots.

                                  1. re: Karl S

                                    I get the vague sense that somehow you're not referring JUST to the food served on The Titanic.

                                    But I could be wrong.

                                    1. re: Karl S

                                      In the case of the Titanic, I am sure the lifeboats would most certainly be boarded by first class passengers first (in the case of the Titanic, that was not entirely the case because many first class passengers were reluctant to leave the ship for the small lifeboat). However, I do not really believe the lack of enough lifeboats for all was as much of a class distinction as it was the believe that the ship was unsinkable.

                                2. I could not celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic. In my opinion, it would definitely be in bad taste. Surely you could come up with another theme. A friend of mine threw a party for her Mom's 80th and they planned and executed an awesome Hawaiian theme. They had everything from bright flowers to paper palm trees. They also had a Hawaiian dancer. I suppose the backyard pool and the timing (August) were beneficial.

                                  I suggest that you look into ethnic themes or other notable dates in the past century. You could also have a food bank theme and keep it simple. By doing this, you could donate all funds that you saved (by keeping it simple) and donate the money to your local food bank!