Another Downton Day in America. This week’s episode S3E3 (E1 & E2 were shown on Masterpiece last week) of Downton Abbey led us on an emotional roller coaster. First it was happy days for fans as Edith’s wedding was sure to be more fun than Mary’s and perhaps we would actually see a wedding reception this time around. Meanwhile, Downton was in ruin and the Crawleys were sent off searching for a new home. In the end, the tables are turned: wedding goes down in flames, while Daisy saves the day by remembering that Lavinia had given her a letter to post explaining to her father that Matthew belonged to Mary and not her. I am still not quite sure how or why one would write a letter like that, or how Reggie managed to have amassed a fortune while Lavinia went under cover for Sir Richard to clear a huge debt that he held over her father. Regardless, Matthew can now claim the fortune to help save the day.
We didn’t see much of Mary’s wedding but Edith’s seem to be more familiar and modern by our standards even if she only had a month to prepare. For me, the best part of the episode is when our favorite Downton servants are treated to an extravagant meal of Edwardian classics, many of which were dishes served in 1st Class on Titanic. I cooked through that ambitious menu (menu and recipe links here) in honor of the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking so recognized the salad and duck instantly. I am sure that these menu choices were reflective of Julian Fellowes keen interest in Titanic, but perhaps was also meant to foreshadow the catastrophe at the altar.
Shame to let such great food go to waste, as the Dowager quipped “if the poor don’t want it you can bring it over to me.” Some was sent to the poor and appetizers were served in the servants hall. Still, it would have been a new experience for servants. The kitchen and serving staff would recognize these dishes, having prepared them for their employers. However, their normal diet consisted of heartier meals, which we now associate with “pub food”. Alfred thought them to be “pickelty bits” and was more interested in having some cheese. Out of the mouths of babes.
Here are links to the dishes mentioned: scroll down to the bottom of the page to get the recipe.
- Oysters a la Russe (Titanic)
- Calvados Glazed Duck (Titanic)
- Asparagus Salad with Saffron Vinaigrette (Titanic)
- Lobster Rissoles with Mousseline Sauce (recipe follows)
- Truffled Eggs on Toast
Lobster Rissoles with Mousseline Sauce
Abbey Cooks Entertains has Many More Entertaining Ideas
You can download a great looking collection of period recipes in minutes. Check out my ebook Abbey Cooks Entertain with 220 Downton era recipes to please finicky guests like Albert at your Abbey. Written by a fan for fans, you can only download a signed copy here, but you also find on Amazon, as well as a printed version. If you don’t have an ereader, might I suggest downloading the PDF version of the book which you can print.