Only one more sleep until Christmas and all through the land last minute preparations are being made for the big day at hand. For UK fans this includes the annual Downton Abbey Christmas episode on ITV. US fans may debate the reasons why PBS broadcasts new episodes months behind ITV, but in the spirit of the season why not focus on the long standing fruitcake debate.
CBC Radio (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) ran a fun story about the love/hate relationship with fruitcake today. I did my best to stick up for our favorite holiday treat, but more about that below. Today‘s Downton Dish recipe which will come in handy in a few days. It is what I call the Remains of the Day Turkey Soup which is a great way to use up leftovers, or what I like to call “made overs”. It is one of the recipes from my cookbook, Abbey Cooks Entertain. My holiday gift to you all.
The Great Fruitcake Debate
CBC is our national broadcasting system in Canada. I grew up listening to CBC radio and it is my family’s travel companion on our annual fishing trip through the mountains. One of my most favorite shows is The Current, a topic news event show which normally tackles more serious issues but in today‘s story dug deep into the mystery of the fruitcake and why so many people have an aversion to it.
In the Great Fruitcake Debate my role was to provide historical context (the current version dating back to the Middle Ages and popularized by Queen Victoria), and as I did my best to praise the well-made fruitcake, it did occur to me that the debate really wouldn’t be taking place in the UK where fruitcake is revered. It is likey that most people who don’t like (hate) fruitcake have had a bad experience with a commercially prepared cake. I think that when the fruitcake began to be mass produced, the quality dropped. Certainly a factory can’t put the same love into a cake like a home cook can. There is also something magical about using alcohol to keep it moist and more flavorful. And when the cook can sip a bit of brandy after giving the cake a little drink, well that is just how it should be. I think I had host Piya Chattopadhyay almost converted to becoming a fruitcake fan.
In any event, this story was great fun…with “man on the street” opinions, a chef who has Canadianized the recipe, and a food scientist who spoke about how picky eaters don’t like all the inclusions (stuff) in the cake. suggesting that chocolate chips might bring people round. If you still don’t like your fruitcake, there were also some very helpful ways to recycle, such as using 2 as hand weights as part of your post holiday work out regime. And there is always the Annual Fruitcake Toss in Colorado.
Click here to Listen to the episode. It is great fun, and thanks Piya for including me in the discussion.
Downton Holiday Dishes
Christmas has its traditions and that always includes food. Here are links to recipes for traditional English favorites. Scroll down the post to location the recipe, or you can purchase my book and you will have these and other recipes on hand.
- Fabulous Fruitcake
- Not Quite Traditional Mincemeat
- Mincemeat Cake
- Easy Mince Oatmeal Squares
- Plum Pudding
- Sugar Plums
- Classic Never Fail Shortbread
UK fans are in for a treat. The final episode for Season 4 is playing Christmas Day, and this year promises a much more happy ending.
- 3 Days till Christmas: The Official DA Eat, Drink & Be Merry Pinterest Board
- S4 Downstairs Delight: Daisy gets a Cinderella moment in the Christmas Special.
- Paul Giamatti on Downton: Copious tea-drinking scenes in Downton Abbey ‘very bizarre and English
Abbey Cooks Entertains for Downton Holiday Entertaining
With 220 traditional Downton era recipes with a modern twist, this is a great book to to give for fellow fans planning holiday treats and meals. Book sales help offset my costs in food, equipment and time to keep bringing you new dishes on a regular basis. While the book is available on Amazon, you can only get a signed copy here on my site. If you don’t have an eReader I would suggest the PDF version which allows you to print recipes as you go, if you wish. Buy one for yourself, gift to another. All you have to do is email the download link.
Remains of the Day Turkey Soup
Hangover Turkey Stock
Tools of the Trade
While cooks in Downton’s era may not have had exactly the same type of kitchen gadgets, Victorian cooks did start the craze for creating a tool for each job in the kitchen, so I blame our ancestors for my obsession with collecting these time savers.
You can even order this stuff directly from Amazon so you have more time to watch Downton.
Your Downton Holiday Gift Giving
Gift ideas for your Downton fan. Click on the icons to take you to Amazon to order in time for the holidays.