QUEEN MARY Flambe Burner and Dish

Flambe 001This flambe burner and silver dish (which are in dire need of a polishing) was used in the First Class Dining Room of Queen Mary.  Dishes like cherry jubilee and certain spiced meats were carted to the various passenger tables and lit into flames.  It was quite thrilling to those wealthy enough to have been exposed to it over the years.  But for Jim and Jess Bennett, First Class was an unnerving experience.  Jim was a World II GI who married his British bride Jess and wired all of his savings so that the newlywed Bennetts could experience the grandeur of Queen Mary first hand.  “Memories of a lifetime” Jim repeated to an anxious Jess a few days before their encounter with the extraterrestrial mother and children. The following excerpt depicts Jess’s reaction when a waiter brought the flambe burner and dish to her table:

“The Dining Room was as soaring and majestic as any cathedral I had seen in Europe and we were both embarrassed to be so under-dressed.  Good God, we were out of place with those tuxedos and gowns all around us.  I wore my uniform which had some formality but poor Jess had only a yellow chiffon dress she’d bought for Easter services a few years before.  ‘Memories of a lifetime’, I kept whispering to her.  When a waiter came to our table and began to flambe a dish, all diners turned excitedly toward us.  Jess was mortified.  When the flames burst upward, she screamed and brought a ripple of laughter.  Our unease must have been glaringly obvious because an older couple watched us from a nearby table for some time, smiling at us and we were certainly the topic of their conversation.  Before dessert, they came over and introduced themselves as Frank and Emily Schofield from upstate New York and we were placed under their wing for the rest of the voyage.”

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