Get set folks—season three of one of our national obsessions is about to start Sunday.
No, not American Idol—we're talking about Downton Abbey.
Yes, I am a fan, and I plan to have my set turned to WTTW at 8 p.m. for the third season premiere on American television.
Will Mary and Matthew will marry? What new intrigues will O'Brien and Thomas concoct? Who will win the one-on-one competition between the Dowager Countess and Cora's American mother, Mrs. Levinson? And of course - will John Bates go free?
This is a huge event—and like the Super Bowl, it requires its own special food.
But what does one serve during such an important festive occasion? Should it be the sumptuous fare that the Crawleys favor and Mrs. Patmore has to cook? Or, will it be the simple, hearty food that the downstairs staff will eat in between the errands for the upstairs folks?
Like any good journalist, I did a little research of my own and came up with some interesting recipes, all courtesy of the Washington Post, Downton Abbey Cooks, a blog on post-Edwardian food created by Pamela Foster and Epicurious.com.
Deviled Eggs is a staple of picnics here in the colonies. They also were a favorite across the pond in the time of Downton Abbey, writes Foster.
A creamed soup, such as Edwardian Cream of Celery and Carrot Soup, was quite popular during the day. Unlike its counterpart of today, creamed soups were made thicker with roux, a classic French thickener that imparts velvety-smooth richness to soups and sauces, according to allrecipes.com.
If you favor the fare of the Crawleys, try a basic roast chicken, or a hearty beef pot roast with red wine and thyme. For the fare of the downstairs staff, try a beef and Guinness stew. Shepherd's pie was also a favorite, but it you don't want to go through the time and angst of making one, they’re available in the Chef’s Case at Whole Foods Market in River Forest.
Trifle is a classic, rich English pudding of sponge or pound cake, sherry, custard and fruit. They can be as easy or complex as you want to make them. Here's a sample recipe.
Victoria Sandwich Cake is a dessert fit to serve to a queen. Traditionally, raspberry jam is used as the filling and the cake top is sprinkled with sugar. Lemon curd, or whipped cream, also may be used between the layers, according to the Washington Post.
If you don’t want to cook up a sumptuous meal, try a spread of English cheese and crackers—and of course, tea, lots of tea. Traditional English cheeses include Stilton, Double Gloucester (one of my favorites) and a variety of cheddar. Scones make for nice morsels, too.
What am I going to eat? I'm keen on Shepherd's Pie, but cheese and Carr's crackers seem appealing right about now.
Tell us your favorite Downton Abbey character and what your predictions are for this season in comments below.
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