Titanic Iceberg Shape, Kosher Kitchen on Titanic, Greek Titanic, and Titanic Switch Theory Resurfaces

 

Photograph of iceberg taken by chief steward of Prinz Adalbert on morning of 15 April 1912 near where Titanic sank. At the time he had not learned of the Titanic disaster. Smears of red paint along the base caught his attention. The photo and accompanying statement were sent to Titanic’s lawyers, which hung in their boardroom until the firm dissolved in 2002. Public Domain

Scientists Reveal The Biggest Secret of the Titanic Iceberg
Curiosmos.com, 16 Jan 2023

The iceberg that sank the Titanic was believed to have had a very unusual, elliptical shape. With the help of computer modeling, researchers were able to figure out the origin of the iceberg. To do so, they used data obtained in 1912 and updated it with new information about wind and ocean currents. This allowed them to conclude that the iceberg was probably part of a small cluster of glaciers in southwest Greenland.

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Kosher ladle used by WSL for Kosher kitchen
WSL ladle for use only in the Kosher kitchen (lettering is on tip of ladle)
Source: The Purser’s Locker

 

 

The Titanic had a kosher kitchen. Who knew?
Jewish News, 19 Jan 2023

The photograph I saw was of eggshell white China plate settings on a white damask tablecloth, the plates wreathed in a black scroll design, at the top of the plate, interwoven into the design spelling “White Star Line,” and at the center of the plate three Hebrew letters were printed in black: kof, shin, raish, spelling “kosher.” Not only was kosher service provided for their Jewish passengers, but with such dignity and elegance. Somehow, I had just never given it any thought. In my mind, formal kosher service provided in the context of non-kosher social or travel situations, was an American phenomenon.

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The ‘Greek Titanic’: The Worst Naval Disaster in Modern Greek History
Greek Reporter, 19 Jan 2023

The sinking of the Greek passenger steamer Himara on January 19, 1947 near South Evia resulted in the loss of at least 383 people and has been written into history as the “Greek Titanic.” Previously named Hertha, the vessel was handed over to Greece from Germany after WWII as a form of war reparations. While sailing off south Evia Island in thick fog in the early hours of January 19th, the ship suddenly struck a rocky islet between the Evian towns of Stira and Agia Marina. Although the ship was only one nautical mile off Agia Marina and it took at least ninety minutes to sink, the freezing cold water and strong currents resulted in the deaths of 383 passengers and crew.

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RMS Olympic Arrives In New York on Maiden Voyage, 21 June 1911
Source: U.S. Library of Commerce/Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain

Old Conspiracy Theory Finds New Life on Tik Tok

Most who study Titanic, whether professional or amateur historians, encounter the various conspiracy theories surrounding its demise. From the supernatural to using the Illuminati, each conspiracy theory shares the same desire to find a different explanation about what happened. Luckily all the conspiracy theories agree a ship sank and agree an iceberg was the reason for it. There are some who opine perhaps it was sunk by torpedo. I personally believe Marvin the Martian caused it when he was testing out a new weapon, but I am alone in that opinion.

The Titanic Switch Theory is nothing new either. It has been around in one form or another since the sinking. It has been thoroughly debunked. Not only would it have been impossible to pull-off, but the wreck also shows no evidence it was the Olympic that went down. A person on Tik-Tok has decided it was time to dust off this old chestnut and breathe life into it. The disheartening thing is not that she did this, but that so many people believe it. She may not know that this has been completely debunked. I suspect by now she does as responses on news sites and social media indicate many are pointing this out.

A long time ago I took a class in critical thinking. The point of the class was to look how various well-known philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, St. Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas, and others constructed their arguments in ways that were logical. The class also taught what a badly constructed argument was and how to identify them. There is funny but apt joke called politician’s logic that illustrates this beautifully:

My dog has four legs
My cat has four legs
Therefore, my dog is a cat.

In this case, finding out the truth was not hard. Yet many were quick to accept this person’s assertions without bothering to check whether it was really true or not. It is a sad commentary that many people just accepted it as fact. The truth is really out there and not hard to find out.

Woman’s Conspiracy Theory Claiming the Titanic Never Sank Is Blowing Minds (24 Jan 2023)
Daily Mirror, 24 Jan 2023


Remembering History: Auschwitz Liberated by Soviet Army (27 Sep 1945)

Child Survivors of Auschwitz, 1945
Public Domain (via Wikimedia)

On 27 Jan 1945, Soviet Union troops liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. In doing so, it revealed the horrors the Germans had perpetrated there. Auschwitz was a series of camps designated I, II, and III with also smaller satellite camps. Auschwitz II at Birkenau was the place where most of the exterminations at Auschwitz were done. Using four “bath houses,” prisoners were gassed to death and cremated. Prisoners were also used for ghastly medical experiments overseen by the infamous Josef Mengele (the “angel of death”).

As the Red Army approached, the SS began a murder spree and blew up the crematoria to try to cover up the evidence. When the Red Army finally got there, they found 648 corpses and 7,000 starving camp survivors. They also found six storehouses full of men’s and women’s clothes and other items the Germans were not able to burn before they left.

News Articles

How a Catholic pastor saved hundreds of his Jewish neighbors in the Warsaw Ghetto (Catholic News Agency, 27 Jan 2021)

For More Information:

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial & Museum
Brittanica.com
History.com
U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Yad Vashem

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Remembering History:Boston Molasses Flood (15 Jan 1919)

For most of us, the notion that molasses would flood a city causing fatalities and destruction on its face seems implausible. Yet it happened in Boston in 1919.

Molasses tank in North End of Boston. Date unknown.
Public Domain (via Wikipedia)

Industrial alcohol (used for machinery and other industrial applications) was very profitable and used for the war effort. It was made from fermented molasses so large tanks were constructed to hold it. A giant tank for it was built in 1915 along Boston’s waterfront on Commercial Street. Operated by the Purity Distribution Company (a subsidiary of United States Industrial Alcohol). The tank was immense measuring 50 feet high, 90 feet in diameter and could hold up to 2.5 million gallons. Back then, the usual standard was to use rivets (welding had not been invented yet) when connecting sections of metal together. Because of the fumes caused by fermentation and the pressure created, it posed a risk. There were leaks and occasional rumbles, but a vent was in place and open during the spring, summer, and fall. However, they were sealed during the winter since temperatures were usually very cool.

Shipments for molasses came in from ships in the harbor and transferred to the tank. Then later it would be transferred to an ethanol plant via pipeline in Cambridge. A recent delivery of molasses had nearly filled the tank. But for Purity, there was another issue. With the war over and Prohibition coming, the demand for industrial alcohol was going to be severely limited (there were still uses from industrial to baking but lower demand meant lower revenues for the company).

Boston Post,January 16, 1919, describing the Boston Molasses Disaster.
Public Domain (via wikipedia)

January 15, 1919 was an unseasonably warm day with temperatures soaring up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit and higher possibly by noon that day. With the vents closed, the fumes had nowhere to go and pressure built up inside the tank. At 12:30 pm people heard sounds that sounded like machine guns firing. It was likely the rivets being popped out by the pressure inside the tank. And then the tank exploded sending the nearly 2.5 million tons of molasses into Boston. The wave was estimated to be 15-40 feet tall and about 160 feet wide. Traveling at about 35 miles per hour, it destroyed several city blocks, leveled buildings, damaged autos and killed 21 people with 150 injured. Since molasses is very thick, it made for difficult breathing if it got into your nostrils or mouths. Many died from asphyxiation or drowned. Horses were knocked down and died on the spot with so many that many compared them to being sticky fly paper.

Boston molasses explosion
Source: U.S. Library of Congress,Digital ID: (digital file from original) anrc 1496

Clean-up efforts started immediately but lasted for quite a while. Molasses went everywhere and no matter where you went in Boston, you were likely to encounter the sticky stuff in some form. It was on subway platforms, inside streetcars, pay telephones, even inside public buildings. Pedestrians tracked the molasses everywhere they went spreading further. Cleanup crews were kept busy cleaning it all up using salt water. And from many accounts, it appears the city would smell like molasses for some years to come.

Aftermath

Fingers were pointed at the company, who tried initially to claim it was sabotage. An investigation into how it was built, and approvals were done showed a lot of corners were cut in its design and construction. Lawsuits were filed and consolidated into one of the first-class action suits ever to be done. Stories of known leaks where kids filled buckets with the leaking molasses did not help the company either. Ultimately the company paid out to victim’s families around $628,000.

The disaster highlighted the need for more rigorous standards for construction, required safety tests for tanks containing liquids, and ongoing safety checks. It was determined the company ignored basic safety tests when constructing and ignored the groaning sounds when tank was filled. Also the company used thinner steel than was commonly used for tanks in that day. They also covered up the leaks by painting the tank brown. Later investigations have shown that as the molasses left the exploded tank, it cooled due to the Boston temperatures making it more viscous (meaning it thickened up) as it went through the streets. This made rescue efforts more difficult and cleanup more difficult as well.

The tank was never rebuilt and the property became a yard for the Boston Elevated Railway (later the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority). Today is the site of a city owned recreational complex called Langone Park. To the east is the large Puopolo Park which has a small plaque on its entrance commemorating the disaster.

Sources


No Sliced Bread for You!

There was a time when the U.S. government banned sliced bread during World War II

 When we go to the store and purchase bread, it comes sliced. Yet that was not the case until the 1930’s. Bread was sold as whole loaves and you sliced them at home (or you made your own bread). Some bakers believed selling pre-sliced bread would hasten it becoming stale. While buying whole loaves meant you could slice to the thickness of your choice, it became a hassle when you had to get breakfast on the table and make sandwiches for lunch. The key to making commercially sliced bread feasible though was machinery to do this and that came about in 1928.

Public Domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

Otto Rohwedder designed a mechanical powered multi-blade slicer that his friend Frank Bench used at his Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri. It was a local hit since the bread was sliced better than done by hand. Some thought it was a fad, but other bakeries began to do the same. Soon it spread national and by the 1930’s just about all commercial bread sold came pre-sliced. It also was softer than homemade as well. The Continental Baking Company capitalized on this with their Wonder bread. It became one of the most popular brands in the country. Now everyone could reach for their bread and easily make toast and sandwiches without having to slice it. A famous phrase came out of it: “The best thing since sliced bread.”

World War II though meant everything had to be rationed for the war effort and food was as well. Flour, dairy products, sugar, and other things could only be purchased with a ration book to prevent stores from selling too much (and they had rigorous enforcement as well). Fewer coffee beans meant coffee had to be extended with things like chicory (which my mother hated). Margarine instead of butter and lesser cuts of beef became popular. And then  the Office of Price Administration (which oversaw the food rationing and other things) decided on 18 Jan 1943 to ban sliced bread. The agency explained that the bread required heavy wrapping compared to unsliced, Another likely reason was that the price of flour (like other items during this period) was starting to go up and banning sliced bread would keep the flour price low.

Steel was also rationed during this time, so availability of bread cutting machines was limited as well. This did reduce the supply of sliced bread as well during the war. If the machine broke down and could not be repaired, bakers had to revert to using whole loaves or other alternatives to sliced bread. The attempt to ban sliced bread meant with resistance. Mayor LaGuardia of New York said that bread-slicing machine should continue to be used by bakeries and delicatessens. It did not stop there as complaints rolled into newspapers from housewives, bakeries, and others. The government doubled down and warned bakeries, stores, and delicatessens to cease using they bread cutting machines arguing it was unfair to those who were manually slice their bread.

You can guess this did not go over well. With limitations on everything already in place, people were furious that sliced bread was being banned requiring everyone to slice themselves or make their own bread. Since flour was being rationed, baking bread from scratch was not practical for most. Due to the unpopularity of this rule, it was rescinded on 8 March 1943. Claude B. Wickard who had issued the rule, said the savings the order meant to occur were not as expected. And that there was sufficient wax paper to wrap the sliced bread existed. So ended a moment when sliced bread, by government edict, was banned.  Today sliced bread is still widely available through types of bread have expanded considerably since those times. Wonder Bread is still available though it was on hiatus for a while when its owner went bankrupt. It was bought by another company that brought it back and adorns store shelves again.

Who Invented Sliced Bread? (History.com)
The US Tried to Ban Sliced Bread During WWII (TheHistoryCollection.com)
Ban on Sliced Bread (TodayinHistory.com)

Prohibition Ratified (16 Jan 1919)

Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol.
Public Domain (via Wikipedia)

On 16 January 1919, the 18th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution was formally ratified. Under the 18th Amendment, the manufacture and distribution of alcohol in the United States (outside of industrial and sacramental use) was prohibited beginning a year later on 17 January 1920. Congress passed the Volstead Act to provide teeth to the law by allowing for enforcement of this law by the federal government, specifically a special unit of the Treasury Department. President Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act but overrode by Congress.

In the 19th century, temperance movements arose to address the growing problem of families being damaged when a husband or relative became addicted to alcohol. Also it was a means of curtailing acts of public drunkenness and related problems with people gathering to drink (gambling, prostitution etc.) The movement, religiously based in many cases, gathered steam and became a political one where it campaigned the state level for abstinence laws. In December 1917 Congress passed the amendment and sent it to the states for ratification.

All but two states ratified, a few after it had met the requisite number needed to amend the Constitution. Connecticut and Rhode Island were the two that rejected the amendment. Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin all ratified after 17 Jan 1919.

Aftermath

Enforcement at national and state levels became an issue right away. Neither Canada or Mexico were dry and illegal importation was an issue. Also with Cuba 90 miles away from Florida, it would provide another avenue for rum and other alcohols to be smuggled in. Breweries switched to making non-alcoholic beverages during this time. Wineries could only produce wine for sacramental (religious use), so they too had to turn to things like grape juice or apple cider. The law was not popular in a lot of cities, resulting in the rise of illegal places (called speakeasies) where you could drink alcohol.

To meet this need, many organized crime syndicates and gangs would supply the alcohol either by owning their own breweries and/or smuggling it in from outside the country. These crime syndicates would become enormously wealthy and corrupt local governments (police, politicians, judges) in order to stay in business. Competing gangs would sometimes duke it out on the streets leaving bodies of their enemies (and sometimes the innocent as well). Chicago became particularly notorious, both for its gangs and the depth of corruption. This prompted the federal government to target the Chicago Gang run by Al Capone. While they would raid his operations (done by the famous Elliott Ness), the financial investigation would lead to a successful conviction of tax fraud.

By the end of the decade, support for Prohibition had ebbed considerably. The rise of the organized crime, the fact many flouted the laws in large and small ways, and the difficulties encountered in enforcing the law all led to is eventual demise. When the Great Depression hit in 1929, many argued the alcohol industry could provide jobs. Franklin Roosevelt added it to his campaign plank in 1932. In 1933, the U.S. Congress passed the 21st Amendment to repeal the 18th (the first such Amendment to do this) which was swiftly passed by most states. A few remained dry (under the provisions of the 21st Amendment, a state could decide to stay dry) after that but today states no longer ban its sale. There are still some counties that are dry, including the one where the Jim Beam distillery is located in Kentucky.

Sources:

 


Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.(1964) Photo:Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress digital id cph 3c26559)
Martin Luther King, Jr.(1964)
Photo:Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress digital id cph 3c26559)

 

The following stirring speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the best calls for equality in modern times. King reminds us that in seeking freedom not only for African-Americans, it is also for everyone. He wanted all people to be treated fairly, justly and not by the color of their skin but on the content of their character. He did not want it done out of bitterness or hatred but to work towards brotherhood where all would be free.  We honor and remember a man who sought freedom not by the gun but by peaceful and forceful demonstrations to remind many of the promises of this country and what God himself has taught us in Holy Scripture.

I Have A Dream
Lincoln Memorial
August 28, 1963

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men — yes, black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends — so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi — from every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring — when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics — will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Sources
Martin Luther King Jr (Biography.com)
Martin Luther King Jr (History.com)
Martin Luther King Jr Online

 

Horrific Shipwrecks, Titanic Replica, Violet Jessop and Titanic Memorial Lighthouse

Ten Horrific Shipwrecks That Weren’t the Titanic
Listverse, 6 Jan 2023

While less well known than the sinking of the Titanic, the ten nautical disasters on this list often eclipse the Titanic story in terms of sheer horror, scandal, and loss of life. With human nature itself proving either the salvation or doom of the castaways, here are tales of heroism, cannibalism, endurance, murder, and disappearance without a trace.

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This Titanic Replica In Tennessee Is So Realistic It Includes Original Artifacts From The Ship
Narcity.com, 6 Jan 2023

The Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, TN, is the world’s largest Titanic-dedicated museum, boasting a massive replica of the ship that even has the iceberg next to it. They say the exterior is “just the tip of the iceberg,” as the inside looks pretty close to the world-famous luxury ship, including the famous staircase where movie characters Jack and Rose met in the 1997 film.

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Collapsible lifeboat D photographed by passenger on Carpathia on the morning of 15 April 1912.
Public Domain(Wikipedia)

A woman cheated death multiple times by surviving the tragedy and sinking of the Titanic and its two sister ships
Newsbreak.com, 7 Jan 2023

Violet Constance Jessop (1887 – 1971) has been nicknamed “Miss Unsinkable” because she survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic and its sister ship, the HMHS Britannic. She also survived the collision of the RMS Olympic with the warship, the HMS Hawke.

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Titanic Memorial Lighthouse,South Street Seaport Museum, New York (2008)
Image: Andy C (Wikipedia)

New York’s Titanic Memorial Lighthouse to be refursbished
IrishCentral.com, 9 Jan 2023

Located in the Seaport District of Manhattan, the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse has fallen into disrepair and is in desperate need of refurbishment. Friends of the Titanic Lighthouse Restoration have campaigned for over four years for the old monument to be restored to its former glory and that tireless campaigning appears to have finally paid off.

 

Remembering History: Siege of Leningrad Broken (12 Jan 1943)

 

Anti-aircraft guns guarding the sky of Leningrad, 1 Oct 1941
RIA Novosti archive, image #5634 / David Trahtenberg / CC-BY-SA 3.0

After German troops invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, one of their top cities to take control of was Leningrad (former St. Petersburg, then Petrograd). As the second largest city in the Soviet Union (and its capital under the Tsar’s), it held significant importance. In August 1941, German troops surrounded the city so nothing could get in or out. This also cut off the Leningrad-Moscow railway. The residents built anti-tank fortifications and defended the city with the resources they had. Hitler decided to wait them out in a siege hoping to break down the will of the residents. Some limited supplies were able to get in but not enough for all its residents. Starvation, disease, and injuries mounted up. They did manage to evacuate about a million elderly and young people out of the city but that left 2 million to deal with the dire situation.

Food was rationed and any open space was used to plant food.  On 12 January 1943, Soviet troops punched a hole rupturing the German siege allowing supplies to come in one Lake Ledoga. A Soviet counteroffensive on 27 Jan 1944 brought the siege to a complete end after 872 days. The Russian army lost, captured or missing 1,017,881 and 2,418,185 wounded or sick. 642,000 civilians died during the siege and, 400,000 during evacuations.

Sources:

Soviet forces penetrate the siege of Leningrad (History.com)
Siege of Leningrad (WorldWar2facts.org)

 

 

 

 

Food Served to First Class on Titanic

Titanic Lunch Menu 14 April 1912.
Photo: AP

First class passengers aboard Titanic ate very well (so did second and third comparatively speaking). Nothing was spared for those who paid the big money. And the food the upper class ate was very different from what we call today fine dining. The terms supper and dinner had a different meaning as well. Dinner was a formal meal and most often at night, while supper was a less formal meal often eaten by workers and others. Lunch and dinner for first class passengers on Titanic were formal with foods not served in less formal settings.

Mental Floss recently took a look at the menus and found some interesting things, most of which are not eaten much today (or have been reconfigured). It should be remembered that dinner back then was a 10 course meal in first class. That was a lot of food to consume! However, eating was not rushed and there were pauses between each meal course. Still for the amount of food served it seems enormous today. Only on special holiday feasts does one have multiple dishes of food served.

Items on the menu included:

Egg à l’Argenteuil

This was a luncheon dish with fancy title but really was scrambled eggs with asperagus. There are many variations of it today. An Italian version, Frittata di Asparagi e Uova, can be found here.

Chicken À La Maryland

This dish was also served for lunch. It was breaded fried chicken with gravy and garnished with bananas. Back then, bananas were considered a luxury and expensive. It became popular in Baltimore since they imported the fruit. This recipe remained popular and the famous Auguste Escoffier put it into his  recipe book. A current version can be found here.

Roasted Squab and Cress

For dinner, you could have this entrée which was as the name indicates: a roasted pigeon with cress. Squad was actually considered a pretty delicious meat (note these are raised pigeons bred for the table, not the common pigeon you see in parks). If you want to get a sense of what it was like, take a look at the recipe at Downton Abbey Cooks.

Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly

This was dessert and often served last. Most comments I found indicate that it does work well. Back then gelatin was very labor intensive to make, so making for a dessert was a special treat. Downton Abbey Cooks also has a recipe for it as well. Today with instant gelatin packs, a bit easier to prepare.

Source:

Michele Debczak, 11 Jan 2021
11 Items From ‘Titanic’s’ Final Menus, Retrieved 9 Jan 2023

 


Today is Epiphany Sunday

Wise Men Adoration(Bartolomé Esteban Murillo)
Photo: Public Domain (This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.)

We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage. (Matthew 2:2)

 

Epiphany Sunday in most Christian liturgical calendars is celebrated on the nearest Sunday after January 6, the traditional observed day of the Epiphany. The Catholic Church will celebrate if it falls on a Sunday or on a Sunday between January 2 and January 8. Since Eastern Orthodox uses the Julian calendar, it will occur 13 days later. Epiphany or Three Kings Day is to celebrate the arrival of The Magi (Three Kings or Wise Men). During the Middle Ages, this was a major feast day (a solemnity) requiring attendance at church on that day. However as many people had to work it became more difficult to attend, the Catholic Church decided to make it easier for people to attend on Sunday, when most do attend church. Some Protestant churches celebrate the Epiphany season from January 6 till Ash Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

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