January 10, 2013

BOOKS: UNOFFICIAL CUISINE: Cooking up favorites of the Crawley kitchen

By Judy Hevrdejs Chicago Tribune

By Judy Hevrdejs
Chicago Tribune

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary’s Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore’s Christmas Pudding
By Emily Ansara Baines, Adams Media, $21.95

The Brit melodrama “Downton Abbey” has spawned countless spoofs. So it’s no surprise a cookbook,
liberally seasoned with the Crawleys and their cadre of servants, would surface.
Noted on its cover: “This book is unofficial and unauthorized. It is not authorized, approved, licensed or endorsed by Carnival Film & Television Ltd., its writers or producers or any of its licensees.”

Fans of the show will enjoy the name dropping and references to the first two seasons, from Mrs. Patmore’s Dropped Roasted Chicken to the Upstairs Anchovy-Onion Tarts. “It’s likely that Lady Mary would stay away from this particular hors d’oeuvre as it would give her bad breath — and then the charming Pamuk might never want to kiss her,” writes Ansara Baines, whose credits include “The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook” and stints in New York and Los Angeles working as a professional baker and caterer.

While the book has it charms, seasoned cooks and those with a knowledge of English cookery may look askance at a few recipes — shepherd’s pie topped with pastry, not mashed potatoes? And with the Edwardian era fading and Crawley wealth diminishing, the excesses of French food offered seem a bit much for rural landed gentry.

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