What’s on the menu?

Happy New Year and welcome to another year of fascinating blogs from UCD Cultural Heritage Collections!

Christmas is a time of family and friend get togethers usually around food and maybe a tipple or two. After two weeks of these get togethers, bellies may be slightly larger and the yulehole (yes it is a word!) on your belt may be called into action. To keep the theme of lovely food going we have decided to start 2019 by looking at various menus in our collections and what they have to offer.

So what’s on the menu?

Christmas and New Year has always been a time of travel especially for those making their way home, be it flying in or out of Ireland. In 1946 if your flight was landing or taking off from Shannon Airport you would have had a feast of food to pick from, as the menus above show. From poached finnan haddock with creamed poached egg for breakfast to roast sirloin of beef with horseradish sauce for luncheon or lamb’s brain fritters for dinner. I’m not sure such variety is available to the weary traveller these days!

But what are the pilots munching on? Well in 1928 Desmond Fitzgerald attended a banquet in Limerick to celebrate the aviation feats of Baron von Huenefeld, Captain Hermann Koehl (Kohl) and Major James Fitzmaurice. These three aviators took off from Baldonnel Aerodrome in the Bremen, a German Junkers W 33 aircraft, on 12 April 1928 in a bid to be the first transatlantic flight. They landed on Greenly Island, on the south coast of Canada becoming the first to cross the Atlantic from Europe to America.  The menu below not only lists the food they enjoyed at this banquet but also the refreshments that went along with each course. Sure who wouldn’t be partial to a little Veuve Clicquot?!

Of course air travel is not the only way to get around this beautiful planet of ours. Cruise ships have become very popular in the last few years for those wanting to see the landscape of the countries they are passing by, instead of just passing over them. And our cruise ship menus are not going to disappoint! The menus below are from the R.M.S Aorangi, a Canadian Australian Royal Mail Line cruise liner bringing Desmond and Mabel Fitzgerald on the Southern hemisphere part of their round the world voyage. Again the variety on offer is something to be marvelled at.

From pilots and plum puddings to presidents and the next menu we will look at does not only tell us the delights served up to John F. Kennedy when he visited Ireland in June 1963. But it is also signed by JFK and the Uachtarán na hÉireann at the time, Eamon De Valera. This luncheon was attended by the then Minister of Education and later President of Ireland, Dr Patrick Hillery.

Now if all those prawns, sirloin, eggs and champagne are getting a bit too much, why not take a look at this menu. This nine course (yes 9 course!) meal was beautifully presented to Dr Patrick Hillery and his wife, Dr Maeve Hillery, on their state visit to Japan in September 1983.

After looking at these menus, reading all the wonderful dishes and envisaging such delightful food – it would be rude not to feed that Christmas belly with a couple more pieces of pudding!

  • This post was researched and written by Meadhbh Murphy, Archivist, UCD Archives.

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