End of term is over, and thanks to one last six hour push yesterday, all is graded an in. Thank. Goodness. I'm completely and utterly exhausted, which is perfect for sinking into many a good book today.
Set up in a pretty classic fashion, this cookbook is minus the glossy pictures we expect today. In the post-Edwardian era, the cooking was an interestingly sauced bunch of meats and "veg," with puddings and pastries for dessert and tea. The contents of the book are separated into two parts: Part 1, "Dining With the Crawleys"; and Part 2, "Sustenance for the Staff". From there, the book is separated into twelve chapters--eight for the Crawleys and three for the staff.
One of the things that I found nice about this cookbook is that it breaks its chapters into the courses in the meal that you might have with the Crawleys (yes, I picture being there). We open with Hors d'Oeuvres, soup and fish. Then it moves to entrees, meat course, game and salads, vegetables, and then desserts. You'll find plenty of things like oysters, ducks, and roasts galore, with fancy wine and mushroom sauces. The desserts are also somewhat familiar, with chocolate mousses, cakes, and eclairs, but also contains an Apple Charlotte and Bakewell Tart recipe to remind us of another era. Tea Time wraps up the Crawleys' section, with delightful scones, curds, and finger sandwiches that seem fairly simple and straightforward to make.
The staff doesn't seem to eat that poorly, but maybe a bit less sauced. Their food feels a bit more like standard "Toad in a Hole," "Bangers and Mash," and "Bubble and Squeak". As Americans, if you're not an Anglophile, these terms might make the food sound creepy and a bit frightening, but really it's just basic things like sausages and potatoes.
I really enjoyed the range of recipes in this cookbook and the whimsy of tying it to Downton Abbey and our favorite characters. Honestly, this is more of a classic British food cookbook, but adds that nostalgic look at a time and show we have all been captivated by. I've thoroughly enjoyed it and plan on trying out some of the soups in particular.
Weekend Cooking is a great, weekly post run by Beth Fish Reads. There are some really great food-related posts there. Stop by to check out other great posts from this weekend.