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R. Dale Flick 08-21-2017 09:18 AM

*RE: AQ food & dining offerings*
Morning, Steamboating colleagues,
Thanks, Rich, for your 'critique' on food offerings, locations to eat on the AMERICAN QUEEN. We've seen and experienced the same now for some years on our longer 'blue water' cruises with food, food, FOOD! from morning to night 24/7 in more places in/around the ship. Far cry from the days on the DQ [And other vessels] when there was breakfast, lunch, dinner in the main dining room and, if you were lucky, morning bullion on deck and afternoon 'tea' with small sandwiches or cookies to tie you over. Lobster also no big deal with me [I do like cold lobster salad or soup] picking prime rib or Beef Wellington every time; yet it's hard to say "No" or push back your chair and leave. Most experienced cruise passengers begin cutting back after the 2nd or 3rd day. Some totally skip lunch and "avoid the many breads and butter." I know what you mean about bacon and even sausage. Yet, in this day and age, passengers with the disposable income to travel now expect such service and offerings. On big ships I hit the gym daily when at sea or in port after visits.

John Burns, son of old Jim Burns who built the DK/DQ, spoke often to me of the food on the 'California Transportation Co.' boats on the Sacramento, River. His dad, Jim, had digestive problems with the rich boat food and years before went on a careful diet remaining slim and wiry all his life. "Dad remembered seeing the cooks save bacon and sausage fat in large containers to reuse." John himself, when young, was a physical fitness fan boxing, swimming, gymnastics. When on the boats with his dad, John kept a box of fresh fruit and vegetables under his bunk to munch when hungry along with doing his exercises when off duty as a fireman/boiler tender. *Take a look at many of those 'vintage' old B/W photos on steamboats of officers and some crew and you'll see evidence of very, very well fed men. My memories of Capt. Jesse P. Hughes was that he was trim, slim all his life. Capt. Doc Hawley another who knew how to control use of his knife, fork and spoon remaining fit. Old first-hand accounts, later historical research find mention of " on the steamboats heavy on fats...prepared thought of healthy diets. Stewards and cooks on the boats laid on huge meals the first two days and then gradually decreased offerings and cut back." And THAT was commented on even back THEN. One old-time Thanksgiving meal on a big 'brag' sidewheeler "...began just after noon with the assembly not leaving the table until nearly 4:00 PM." Capt. Tom Greene with the GREENE LINE STEAMERS boats preached to his cook/serving staff, "Hot foods HOT. Cold foods COLD." Another famed saying to service staff, "Look sharp. Be attentive. Service is all we have to sell."

Steamboat food 'discussions' on this web in the past fascinating. Our own late Capt. Alan Bates had much to say and write. "Most of the food on the old boats slop and not much better than found in 2nd rate boarding houses ashore. They could make anything taste good with lots of sugar, lard and flour." Yet there were many examples of extremely fine steamboat cooking. Near our home at the mall in Cincinnati a big, new 'gourmet movie theater' has opened with several movie sections along with fine seating and menu food orders brought directly to you in your seat. I've avoided attending the movies there.

Again, thanks for your postings with photos and insights. Keep it up. Cheers!

Summer: R. Dale Flick on the northern shores of Lake Michigan until returning to Cincinnati next Monday.

David Dewey 08-25-2017 01:25 AM

We used to say that the Orleans Room's motto was, "A Pound a Day, that's all you'll Gain!!"

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