COOKING & FOOD

The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook

Weldon Owen. Sept. 2019. 272p. index. ISBN 9781681883694. $35. COOKING
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Food historian Gray offers an inventive way to bring home cooks into Downton Abbey, the series that captured so many hearts. While not the focus of the series’s story lines, food was always in the background, a secondary character to the drama unfolding throughout. The long narrative reminds readers how food was present throughout the series, and occasionally offers historical context about the food culture of the time. Recipes in the cookbook are separated into two sections, Upstairs and Downstairs, which refer to the dining rooms where the dishes and meals would be served. Whether it’s designed for Breakfast, The Still Room, or Supper & Tea, each recipe includes a few sentences of dialogue and the episode in which the dish appeared. Abundant photography, including stills from the show and recipe portraits, are beautifully stylized. Not everything is equally accessible; the average cook is more likely to make and eat scones or beef stew with dumplings than mutton with caper sauce. As the recipes are written with an assumption that the reader is already a cook, this book is not for beginners.
VERDICT A beautiful book for Downton Abbey lovers and serious traditional cooks.

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