The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines

Last Updated on September 15, 2020 by Ellen Christian

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook

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The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook

We are huge fans of British television series like Downton Abbey so when I saw The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, I knew I had to check it out.  Downton Abbey is a British television series that takes place on a fictional estate called Downton Abbey in North Riding of Yorkshire, England.  Downton Abbey revolves around the Crawley family and their servants and takes place from 1912 to 1914.   The series focuses on Lady Mary and her attempt to find a husband which is necessary after the male heirs died in the sinking of the Titanic.

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook is a collection of more than 150 recipes from upstairs (the titled family) and downstairs (the servants).  Not only is The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook a fascinating look at the British television series itself, it’s a great historical look at the types of foods that were eating by British royalty in the early 1900s.  Each of the recipes included has a brief introduction that will explain the episode the recipe comes from.  Also included are etiquette tips for those that are unfamiliar with the proper etiquette to use when dining with British royalty.  Also included in some recipes are pairing tips to give you ideas of what you should serve with the featured recipe.   Many recipes also include a section called Times Gone By that gives a brief look into why things were served or their origins in history.

The recipes in The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook are broken down into Dining with the Crowleys and Sustenance for the Staff.  Dining with the Crowleys includes Hors d’Oeuvres Varies; First and Second Courses: Soups and Fish; Third Course: Elegant Entrees; Fourth and Fifth Course: Juicy Joints and Succulent Steaks; Sixth Course: Resplendent Roasts, Gorgeous Game, and Accompanying Salads; Seventh Course: The Necessary Vegetable; The Finishing Touch: Sweets and Desserts; and Tea at Downton Abbey.  Sustenance for the Staff is broken down into Hearty Breakfasts to Start the Work Day; A Quick Lunch Between Business; Downstairs Supper; and Desserts for the Servants’ Sweet Tooth.

While it’s probably not very likely that most people would find themselves making some of the dishes in the Dining with the Crowleys section, it was fun to see the types of foods the British aristocracy ate.   I doubt that I will be making Filet Mignon with Foie Gras and Truffle Sauce any time soon but the Potatoes Lyonnaise and the Creamy Butternut Squash Soup are certainly things we’d enjoy having.  The Sustenance for the Staff section has a bunch of recipes that I can see us enjoying including Warm Chicken Pot Pie, Classic Vanilla Rice Pudding and the Working Class Porridge that I made for breakfast.

If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, British television series or British cooking, you definitely need to buy The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding – More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs.

Article first published as Book Review: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook by Emily Ansara Baines on Blogcritics.

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