Another dreary Winter’s day and Spring is still far on the horizon. This is good weather to be snuggled up in front of the TV to catch another new episode of Season 4 of Downton on PBS and dream of brighter and warmer days ahead.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” (Charles Swindoll). Many characters in S4E4 have tough choices to make and Anna is top of mind as she struggles to keep her attack a secret, afraid of how Mr. Bates will react.
There are happier plot lines this season, my favorite is Alfred’s journey to realize his dream of chef. On that note, this week’s dish is Asparagus Feuilletés, a great first course or appetizer for beginners, which Ivy is trusted to make for the family.
It wouldn’t be a proper weekly catchup without some casting notes and what is happening on and off camera in the world of Downton.
- My interview with the Edmonton Journal: Downton Abbey Dishes the Story of an Era
- Dame Maggie Smith won at the SAG Awards. What she might have said.
- Missed last week’s pivotal episode? A recap.
- How well do you know your Downton? Take the PBS S4E2 Quiz.
- Want another quiz? This one is from last week. PBS S4E3 Quiz
Alfred And The Great Escoffier
I love this new story line. Since arriving at Downton, Alfred has yearned to trade his white gloves for a toque blanche. He saves the hollandaise sauce, lingered over spices at the Thursk fair, and most recently jumped in to make the bechamel for the visiting guests. He announces this week that “They are opening up a training school at the Ritz in honor of August Escoffier.”
Escoffier was at the right place at the right time. King Edward VII had a lavish lifestyle and appetite for fine dining influenced a trend towards lavish entertaining as a regular part of life. French chef Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935) rose to the challenge of satisfying the King’s appetite which started a passion for French cuisine across grand dining tables across England.
Escoffier’s legacy is still enjoyed by professional chefs, home cooks and foodies around the world. Did you know he created Peach Melba in honor of Dame Nellie Melba, the singer who sang so beautifully last week at Downton?
Some of his best-known works include Le Guide Culinaire (1903), Le Livre des Menus (1912) and Ma Cuisine (1934). He invented some 5,000 recipes, and culinary institutions around the world continue to teach his methods.
He is famously connected to The Savoy and what evolved into the Ritz Carlton hotel chain, creating many signature dishes. Three of Escoffier’s most noted career achievements:
- Revolutionizing and modernizing the menu the art of cooking and the organization of the professional kitchen. For example, he focused on serving seasonal dishes with lighter sauces, and centralized the professional kitchen into one unit, reducing duplication of efforts
- Escoffier simplified restaurant menus, writing the dishes down in the order in which they would be served (Service à la Russe).
- He also developed the first à la Carte menu.
Stay tuned, this should be an exciting experience for Alfred.
Appetising Asparagus Feuilletés
Your Downton S4 Survival Guide
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