Welcome to my virtual tea party, an online tribute to the art of having tea. “A Proper Tea is Much Nicer than a Nearly Nice Tea“- A.A. Milne. Life is grand in the UK now that Season 3 is well under way, sad in the US as PBS won’t be broadcasting the new season until January. Devoted foodie Downton fans will be looking forward to carefully planning S3 launch parties (check out my link to upstairs/downstairs theme ideas) or perhaps booking tickets to the S3 Culinary Launch Weekend at the Essex Resort in Vermont (see details below).
The British may have historically failed in other culinary areas*, but excel in the tea ritual. I love to dish on Downton Abbey, the Royal Family, UK tourism and other topical tea issues one might discuss at tea, served up with a tea treat recipe with history. Today’s treat is Guilt-Free Pumpkin Tartlets to celebrate the arrival of Fall.
My Online Guide to the Tea Ritual
Taking a traditional “afternoon tea” is definitely a bucket list experience. To do it properly, I have created a handy guide to help you enjoy the experience. I highlight a famous London tea house each week, but do check out and support the tea houses in your local community. Send in a pic and I will post it here and on my Pinterest Tea Board. My Downton Abbey Cooks Online Guide to Afternoon Tea.
You too can be a Downton Abbey Cook: My Interview
To learn more about how you too can become a Downton Abbey Cook, read my interview in Downton Abbey Cooks: Take over Mrs. Patmore’s Kitchen in WeWomen magazine.
Dishing Downton: There May Be Spoilers
- WARNING: if you wish to remain in ignorant bliss about that is going to happen in Season 3, I would suggest you scroll right down to our recipe of the day. As for me, there aren’t enough spoilers to ruin the Downton Experience for Me.
- When is Downton Day? Keep track on your own Downton Abbey 2013 Wall Calendar, now available. Stay tuned for my calendar giveaways in the coming weeks, or buy your calendars for yourself and fellow Downton fans through Amazon.
- Downton Abbey Prequel: The big news this week is Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, is planning a prequel which will follow the courtship of Robert and Cora. It was a fascinating time in history– American heiress’ travel to England in search of an English title, meeting Lords needing money to sustain their estates. A great book to read on the subject: To Marry an English Lord.
- So you Want to be a Downton Servant: 17 hour days? Service in a house like Downton Abbey wasn’t as glamourous as you might think.
- Downton Makes the World a Better Place: Lord D agrees that Downton Abbey reminds us all to be more courteous to one another; a lesson which Thomas and O’Brien still need to take to heart.
- Why do Americans Love Downton Abbey? Lord D just reminded me to include this link. It is still a mystery to me, but a few clues to the love of Downton state side.
*English Cookery– the worst in the world?
While famous British chefs (Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay) have helped boost the reputation of English cuisine, I am pretty sure many food critics still compare some English fare with the quality of Branson’s soup that he attempted to dump on the General’s head in Season 2. Apparently that reputation goes back hundreds of years. From the original domestic goddess, Mrs. Beeton’s delightful book, Beetons Book of Household Management, published in 1861:
IT HAS BEEN ASSERTED, that English cookery is, nationally speaking, far from being the best in the world. More than this, we have been frequently told by brilliant foreign writers, half philosophers, half chefs, that we are the worst cooks on the face of the earth.
Guilt Free Pumpkin Tartlets