December means Christmas in the UK, and in many other countries around the world. Many of the traditions we enjoy were today were introduced by Victorians. Jessica Fellowes goes into some detail in her new book A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey: Seasonal Celebrations, Traditions, and Recipes. “It’s Christmas at Downton Abbey: the mistletoe hangs quietly, hoping to witness a kiss beneath in white berries, pine and holly are laid on every surface, a yule log crackles in the fireplace and stockings are hung on the mantlepiece.”
Many holiday traditions include food. Today we review my favorite traditional holiday recipes, and one of my own traditions. Also known as fenberries in the UK, cranberries not only find themselves on our Christmas tree, but in Cranberry Torte, a crowd pleasure which is quick and simple to make. And once the holidays are done, you can use my online guide to start planning your Season 5 parties.
Finally, we are now less than a month away for the new release on PBS on January 4. Stay tuned for my week by week updates of each new episode. In the meantime, here are a few tidbits
- George Clooney at Downton? His first pics and video clip.
- How many years left for Downton? Season 6 is guaranteed, but will there be Season 7?
- Andrew Prince: The man responsible for Downton bling
- Lady in red: Lily James graces the Cover of In Style
- Daisy as evil step sister: Sophie McShera joins cast of Disney’s Cinderella
Here are some holiday gifts to put on your list this year.
- Downton music for Christmas: Did you order your Christmas At Downton Abbey [+digital booklet] Carson reads the Night Before Christmas!
- Carry Downton with you 24/7: Downtonism App is available on Android and iOS.
- New year means a new calendar: Downton Abbey 2015 Wall Calendar
- Downton tees in time for the holidays: Which one is for you?
Abbey Cooks Entertain: 2nd Edition
Another great gift for Downton fans who cheer Mrs. Patmore and Daisy. Time to start planning your Downton Viewing and holiday parties. With 220 traditional Downton era recipes with a modern twist, this is a great book to create some simple or complex dishes for your Mary or Anna.
Book sales help offset my costs in food, equipment and time to keep bringing you new dishes each week.
UK Fans will be happy to note that the 2nd Edition will list both imperial and metric conversions.
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 to your loved ones.
The Victorians started the trend: Charles Dickens helped popularize Christmas, and Prince Albert was a big fan of the holiday.
By 1910 Father Christmas was universally recognized in Europe, and exchanging
Christmas cards was a well-established custom.
While the aristocracy lived in London during The Season when parliament was
in session, everyone retreated to their country estates for the holiday. Christmas was an elaborate affair with many courses.
If you are planning a traditional Christmas dinner, you would not go wrong selecting any of the dishes in the “Dining with the Crawleys” section of the Recipe Index. The star of the show however is the roast which should be either goose or turkey. And for dessert, the traditional plum pudding.
Recipes for a Very Downton Christmas
- Peanut Butter Fudge
- Fabulous Fruitcake
- Mincemeat Cake
- Never Fail Shortbread
- Sugar Plums
Showstopper Cranberry Torte
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.
Downton Gift Giving
Marvelous additions to your Downton Collection.