I kind of wish I was living in England right now. You see if I were, I would've already bared witness to the season 3 premier of the incomparable Downton Abbey, one of the best TV shows to hit the airwaves in recent years. But since I live here, in Canada, I still have another four months to wait until I can see what happens with Mr. Bates and Anna, not too mention Matthew, Mary and the rest of Lord Grantham’s girls.
There is some good news, though, which is that The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cooking: From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapés to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding – More Than 150 Recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs (F+M Media, September 2012) is being published today. So, while we may not know how things are going to turn out for the Crawley clan and their servants, we can certainly try to eat like them while we impatiently wait for January to come around.
I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of this new release earlier this month, and if you watch the show you know that the dining room scenes are heavy on the eye candy for us foodies, making it easy to see how an entire book can be filled with ideas and inspiration taken from the show. In fact, one episode in particular was the inspiration the apple charlotte recipe I shared last winter, and I’m certain there will be many more Downton-esque dishes to cook in the coming months. I already know I will have a hard time choosing whether I want to eat from the “Dining with the Crawleys” or “Sustenance For the Staff” sections of this fun book, and I love how the author (Emily Ansara Baines) divided her recipes between the fine food of the upper class and the more humble, yet comforting, fare of those who live downstairs.
One of my favourite features from this book, in addition to the many lip-snacking good titles that fill the 200-plus pages, is the punchy little pockets of text that are full of tips and valuable information for the reader. For example, in a recipe for Lady Mary's Spicy Mulligatawny Soup, there is a small etiquette lesson on how to properly hold, and eat from, a soup spoon. At the bottom of the recipe for Mrs. Patmore’s Madeira Pound Cake there is a neat anecdote about the history of using wine in pound cake. Fascinating stuff, I tell you!
Thanks to kind folks at F+W Media I have a copy of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook to give away to one lucky reader! In order to enter, leave a comment letting me know if you watch the show and which storyline you like best.
Contest closes at midnight on Thursday September 20, 2012. Good luck!