If you are hooked on the rise and fall of Lord Grantham and his family, you may want to try your chances at winning this book.
The popular show, Downton Abbey, follows the saga of a well off English family, specifically focusing on their estate and the management of their household. The juxtaposition of the servants lives and those who they care for is not a new angle but it is always filled with juicy tensions and hierarchies that I enjoy watching unfold. Some gorgeous period piece costumes, the propriety of a bygone era, a passionate English romance (is “passionate English” an oxymoron?), and Maggie Smith – this is the recipe for the show’s success.
I barely have time to watch TV or read news and even I have not escaped the Downton Abbey hype. Last year, I was offered a copy of this cookbook and accepted because I was humored by the title. Everything at Downton Abbey is so terribly official that the idea of “unofficial” cookbook tickled me.
This cookbook seems to be the product of an entrepreneurial chef that identified a trend and went after it. I don’t know much about British food but it seems to have all the basics as well as some period favorites. Recipes are identified with character names such as “Daisy’s Noisette Potatoes” and “Thomas’s Salted Cod Cakes” or they are separated by the class who would have eaten the dishes for example, “Working-Class Porridge” or “Decadent Duchess Potatoes.”
After leafing through the book, I saw that the ingredients in the recipes don’t exactly stay as true to the period as the costumes and sets of the show. Frozen puff pastry and pudding mix probably weren’t present in Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen. Never-the-less, I think this book is meant to be fun and playful rather than a serious lesson in early 20th century culinary techniques.
I can’t help but feel slightly bothered with the note at the bottom of the book reminding us that the book is unofficial and unauthorized, not endorsed by creators of the show, its writers or producers. It doesn’t seem entirely right to profit so obviously on the coattails of another’s creation without their collaboration. Though, I guess they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
If you would like to win this book, leave a comment on this post before the end of day Wednesday, Jan. 30. At that time, I will randomly choose a winner and will mail him or her my very own copy of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook. By next Sunday, you could be eating Tom Branson’s Corned Beef while you watch the fiery Irishman try to take down the English aristocracy.
Giveaway closed: A winner has been chosen. Thank you for reading!