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Downton Abbey Cooks: Take over Mrs. Patmore's kitchen


© Downton Abbey Cooks - Downton Abbey Cooks: Take over Mrs. Patmore's kitchen
© Downton Abbey Cooks
In 1891, a Mrs. Isabella Beeton wrote about British cooking in her Book of Household Management. As a preface for such recipes as calf’s head, pig’s face, and boiled fruit pudding, she wrote: “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 [...]”

When one thinks British cooking, elaborate isn’t exactly what comes to mind. Bangers and mash, fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding... comfort food, sure, but not haute cuisine.

And yet, if you’ve ever been able to pry your eyes from the drama of the hit television show “Downton Abbey” long enough to get some perspective, you might have noticed that the food doesn’t look half bad. In fact, it actually looks quite scrumptious — and time consuming.

Pamela Foster, a native Albertan now living in Toronto, had never seen the show until last Christmas, when she embarked on Season 1 to catch up with her husband, himself already a fan. What followed was a revelation.

“We then sequestered ourselves for a day between Christmas and New Years to enjoy Season 2 in one of those legendary “Downton” marathons that people often talk about...in pajamas and practically starving because you don’t want to stop to eat,” she described in an email. “Perhaps it was my hunger talking but I distinctly recall thinking, ‘Why isn’t someone writing about the wonderful food on the show?’ It was such a big part of that era...when PBS started broadcasting S2 [sic], I started blogging along with the episodes.”

Like Julie Powell with Julia Child, Foster, 50, a social media consultant and history buff, started recreating the recipes from the show and writing about her experiences on her blog, Downton Abbey Cooks.


Anne Cohen
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