Ready for a Downton Abbey feast?
Have you recovered from last week’s shocking episode of Downton Abbey? Maybe you’d like to raise your game for viewing this week’s installment:
Not everybody likes their food fresh and nouvelle.
As last year’s hoopla around the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic reminded us, there are plenty of people who hunger for fare from back in that Edwardian day, especially if it’s a trifle fancy — or even just a British trifle.
By presenting lavish depictions of foods and cooking and dining in upscale England in the early 1900s, the popular “Downton Abbey” has fueled appetites for that sort of thing, inspiring other people to serve it up, too.
There’s the Downton Abbey Cooks blog (www.downtonabbeycooks.com), whose author, Toronto-area culinary historian Pamela Foster, now offers a $7.95 downloadable cookbook titled “Abbey Cooks Entertain.” The beautifully illustrated e-book offers 220 recipes for serving, perhaps, during a “Downton” dinner, which fans hold while watching the show.
“It seems to be a growing trend for people to combine the show with food,” she says in an email, noting that’s why she’s put together the book, “to help answer all those questions I get about what to serve and what type of meal to host.”
You can also check out the sumptuous fare on the “Eat, Drink & Be Merry” board that Foster curates on Pinterest that “explores the world of food and drink from the Downton era.”
Just out in hardback, meanwhile, is “The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook” (Adams Media, September 2012, $21.95). It’s subtitled “From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding; More than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs.”
The cover also notes, “This book is unofficial and unauthorized” and not at all endorsed by the company that produces the PBS series. But it’s gotten a ton of publicity from other outlets.
Emily Ansara Baines, who also put together “The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook,” pulled together recipes for everything from hors d’oeuvres to seven dinner courses and dessert, plus tea, as would be served to the Crawleys, as well as recipes to provide “Sustenance for the Staff” downstairs for breakfast, lunch, supper and sweets.
So if you don’t have the kitchen chops or old money to make such classics as Potatoes with Caviar and Creme Fraiche or Lobster Thermidor, you might like to try Tom Branson’s Guinness Corned Beef or Warm Chicken Pot Pie.
Some recipes — The Earl of Grantham’s Green Turtle Soup, Deviled Kidneys — are of more historical than practical interest.
Still, the book would be fun for a fanatic of the show, peppered as it is with references to the characters as well as notes on etiquette and other aspects of “Times Gone By.” Or are they?
As the author notes in the introduction, “Cooking these beloved dishes may be bittersweet, as you know something those residing at Downton Abbey do not: that this period before the World Wars was the last hurrah of British gastronomy, and soon many of Downton’s beloved dishes would be taken away due to war rationing and a changing marketplace. … Yet with these recipes you can re-create it and live one day as a lady, the next as a lady’s maid.”
This article was re-published from The Seattle Times. For the original article, including recipes, click here.
Photo credit: Nick Briggs, Carnival Film and Television Limited 2012 For Masterpiece