Downton Days are here again on PBS. A brand new year with a brand new glorious commercial free season of Downton, just the way we like it. I was particularly thrilled that the great chefs at PBS didn’t mess with the UK version or feed us extra portions; in past years they would edit the shows and serve E1 and E2 together, which is ever so delicious, but makes the season so much shorter. Season 5 promises to be a great season, full of secrets and love in the most unexpected places. Lord D particularly enjoyed the Manners of Downton Abbey special which followed Episode 1.
Over the past few weeks, many fans approached me for food pairing ideas to celebrate the launch of Season 5. My Online Guide to Hosting a Downton Abbey Party has plenty of ideas. When pressed for a specific dish for this episode, I suggested a flambé (but not disclosing Edith’s bedroom fire), since any time you set fire to food, it is a special occasion. I chose Cherries Jubilee for its simplicity, grand effect, and the connection of its creator, Auguste Escoffier, to Downton Abbey.
For many of us, there a few indulgent pastimes which live large in time strapped imaginations. The English tradition of gathering for tea, cucumber sandwiches, and sweet scones is right up there on our bucket list, along spa day with the girls. But what do most us non Brits really know about “tea time” and what if we want to try to host one ourselves?
When I started this blog, I wanted to share my love of Downton Abbey, food and history, but wasn’t sure exactly where it would take me. I also wanted to gain a deeper appreciation of my husband’s “blue blood” English heritage. His family tree traces to Devonshire in the 1600s, and with an upcoming family reunion in the UK, I wanted to be well informed and know what to look for when I do search for tea rooms in England. I am still haunted by my dress code violation when I tried to have Afternoon Tea at the Ritz in London years ago.
I was inspired by Christine, a young woman from France, who commented on this blog about how she loved Downton, loved to bake (and eat, too, I hope), and wanted to learn more about the traditions. Since there are so many recipes which could be added to the tea tray, I thought it would be interesting to set aside Tuesdays to share recipes. So Christine, this weekly segment is dedicated to you.
A culinary historian and Downton fan (not officially connected to the Show or its producers) fascinated by the fine, yet simple food of the post Edwardian period of Downton Abbey. Great food has a history and connects us with our past. Wouldn't it be lovely to add a touch of elegance to your Abbey?