i recently came across an interesting item in a secondhand bookshop: a menu for dinner on the ss president wilson ocean liner, from april 12, 1961. the theme was oriental night, and as you can see below, there was a surprisingly tasty-sounding array of dishes from china, japan, and the philippines. i was rather surprised to see some of the items on the menu--all those japanese pickles? satsuma jiru? lumpia? however, once i really took a good look at the menu, i realized that the most challenging items were easily ignorable condiments, and everything else could be passed off as regular continental fare (prawn tempura=fried shrimp, lumpia=egg roll, pancit guisado=noodles); i also suspect that the foods were deliberately presented as such to pass them off as more exotic than they actually were. still, you can't fault the stunning menu presentation. i can only wonder how fancifully the foods were presented at the table. i also wonder if the food on cruise ships these days is better or worse than it was at the time of this menu....
there were actually three ships named the president wilson for american president lines (now a strictly cargo company); this menu is for the second ship, which was the last of the grand passenger liners built for apl in 1948. it toured from the western united states throughout "the far east" until 1973, when it was finally decommissioned and salvaged.
Posted by santos. This entry was posted on 20060215 at 10:10 PM You can skip to the end and leave a response.