The Friends of the San Francisco Maritime Museum Library and the San Francisco Maritime Research Center present historian and author Simon Spalding and his lecture on “Food in the Age of Sail” in the San Francisco Maritime Research Center, Ft. Mason BLDG E at 6:00 pm on Thursday, September 10. This lecture will include the 19th-century sailing packets that carried Irish immigrants to North America during and after the Great Famine.
The program will explore the culinary practices of merchant ships during the 19th and early 20th Century, with fascinating details of how food was preserved, prepared, and consumed aboard sailing ships of the era. Learn why the ship’s cook was addressed as “Doctor”, and how salt beef and salt pork scooped from the “harness cask” were made into lobscouse and other shipboard delicacies. This program also covers conditions aboard immigrant ships (from both Europe and Asia), slave ships, and whalers. Accounts of the misadventures of shipboard pigs and poultry add spice to the tale, as do snatches of song from sea chanteys and ballads. Admission is free, and there is plenty of parking in Fort Mason.
A native San Franciscan, Simon Spalding now resides in North Carolina. He has pursued twin careers in music and history, and has lectured and performed throughout North America and twelve European countries. He has served in the crew of a barque, a brig, a sloop, and assorted schooners, including transatlantic and Baltic trips aboard the Polish sailing vessel Zawisza Czarny.
Mr. Spalding’s lecture is based on his book, “Food at Sea: Shipboard Cuisine from Ancient to Modern Times” (ISBN 9781442227361, Rowman & Littlefield). Spalding’s book is the first to cover the history of food at sea from the Mesolithic Age to the present. Along the way, “Food at Sea” explores the maritime foodways of the ancient Mediterranean, Vikings, medieval war galleys, Spanish and English explorers, sailing navies and merchant fleets, immigrants from Scotland, Ireland, and East Asia, steamships and ocean liners, submarines, and cruise ships. “Food at Sea” has received rave reviews from Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Sea History Magazine, and from readers.
The lecture and book-signing is free to the public. Copies of the book and CDs will be available for purchase after the program.
The San Francisco Maritime Research Center is located at Fort Mason Center in Building E. Plenty of parking is available. To contact the center/library, call 415-561-7030. To contact Simon Spalding, phone 252-636-1256 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit his website, www.musicalhistorian.com.