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- Publié sur Amazon.com
Daverat's Wife writing here: This may not be an authorized nor an "official" companion cookbook to the hugely popular TV Series Downton Abbey Seasons 1 & 2 Limited Edition Set - Original UK Version, but what it lacks in Embassy stamps, it more than makes up for in enthusiasm, knowledge, humor and research. The Author, Emily Ansara Baines, and her publishers, go far out of their way to let you know from the beginning that this is only their loving viewers' interpretation of what kinds of dishes could have been expected to ber served by the various characters for various social occasions and meals while specifically distinguishing between the foods of the upper class and the heartier lower class servants' fare that would be cooked for the "help" to eat. Our Author entertains us with her obvious love of the show by playfully presenting each recipe in the social context of the times and to the taste of the various popular characters. She goes to great trouble to inform a reader or a cook new to the time-period on the dining habits and meal expectations of the two vastly different groups of characters - the haves and the have a lot lessers, shall we say.
The author does, however, make modern day substituitions for some ingredients that time would not permit a modern single cook to create on his or her own over the course of several days. Also, in a nod to the new American fans, they give the measurements American-Style, meaning by volume in cups and teaspoons and NOT by weigh in grams or ounces as is the case with most UK cookbooks. For example, they will say you need 4 chicken breasts rather than " X amount weight of white chiken meat on the bone." This is done for a decent reason - utility, and therefore doesn't detract from the overall presentation. After all, if the author had to instruct a modern cook on more than just the basic methode and style of preperation, the book wouldn't be much fun, it would be a doctoral thesis. Even so, there is a good conversion table in the back that can help if you have weight recipes in need of modernization. This is intended to be a fun book written FOR fans of Downton Abbey BY afans of Downton Abbey - take it for what it is and enjoy it. It doesn't advertise to be anything b ut what it says. If you want a Primer on proper period methode preperation with only the tools and ingredients available during the time period portrayed, you WOULD need a full staff and in some cases, a TIME MACHINE!
That said, on to the recipes, many of the 150 of which, may be quite a surprise to American readers both in their heavy ingredients and the rather "rich" nature of the foods. One flips through a book such as this and wonders how on earth a society lady of that era could have kept her figure! In various asides, however, it is made clear that the tables laden with elaborate and rich dishes of food were all part of the display of wealth and that the Crawleys didn't eat themselves into stupors and obesity. No, the author reminds us, having a staff at your beck and call to whip up all these fabulously intricate dishes was part of the show, the grandeur and proof that advertised to the world: THIS is the table of AFFLUENCE and INFLUENCE!. Most of the simpler recipes are those that Mrs. Patmore would have made for the staff serving their social "betters" (by the rigid Class System) but these recipes are some of the most accessible. Indeed, some of the recipes are at home with us today such as the simple Walnut & Celery salad with Pecarino cheese - you could find that today as a starter on most 4 star menus. The only possible downside is that the author does not include photos of the recipes but that is hardly necessary since most of these recipes are quite well-known classics and a simple Google Image Search or WikiMedia Commons search will bring up proper views of the finished product as it should appear. Also, this book is intended merely to pique your interest in this style of food and entertaining. There are many places to go from here and there is a useful reference list on page 243 that should satisfy the most adventurous cook.
Where this book will delight fans is in the loving descriptions of the food, it's place in the lives of the characters and the asides about the history behind the dish or notes about how best to serve it. Indeed, this well presented board cover book makes delightful reading for Downton Abbey fans as much as it makes a lovely cookbook. Americans will finally have a decent recipe and prepartion method for the infamous UK "Bubble & Squeak" which uses up leftovers and dates back to the late 1700s! I saw the Steak & Kidney Pie of my youth well-explained but somehow, I am not tempted to make it again! Can't figure out why ;-) The authentic "Meatless Mince Pie" recipe is what we Americans now buy in a jar and spread in a pie shell but read here how to make it yourself. Our author even reveals the traditional reason why it is eaten around the Christmas Holiday. If it's a Sit-Down Fancy Tea meal you wish to replicate, there are plenty of Tea Sweets, Biscuits, Finger Sandwhiches and other tea treats faithfully represented here. In other words, The author has covered all the bases lovingly and given her readers a jovial primer on dishes that certainly would have bbeen served at Downton Abbey!
This is a must gift for fans of the show on your holiday gift list because they will go back to it again and again. They can even prepare special meals for viewing parties. Having grown up with many of these dishes, and then cooking the higher class dishes as a caterer, I feel the author has captured the authentic taste an historical sense of the culinary time she is attempting to cover for her readers. Not every dish will be to your liking but there are many that will thrill you. It's the reading of the recipes thatis half the delight! Enjoy this sclice of Edwardiana!
A delightful trip to the past and Unnoficial Gastronomic Companion to the series! Do also look up the same author's equally fan-fun Cookbook The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook: From Lamb Stew to "Groosling" - More than 150 Recipes Inspired by The Hunger Games Trilogy and another Unofficial Cookbook by another Fan Author, The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook: From Direwolf Ale to Auroch Stew - More Than 150 Recipes from Westeros and Beyond. Fan Cookbooks are part of Fan Fiction and should be appreciated for what they are as opposed to what they are not. This Downton Abbey Fan COokbook is delightful.