Downton Abbey fans, history lovers and foodies, have I got a book for you. I snagged it off a library shelf, and I’m loving it.
The book is A Year In The Life Of Downton Abbey: Seasonal Celebrations, Traditions, And Recipes, by Jessica Fellowes, the niece of Downton Abbey creator and actor Julian Fellowes. It is lavishly decorated with lots of on-set and off-set photographs and subdivided into 12 months, each with a theme. April, for example, is Travel; June is The London Season; September is The House Party; and December is (what else?) Christmas.
The book not only explains the Downton Abbey world in the 1920s era from the servants’ and the gentry’s point of view, so you understand what happened in those worlds and the reasoning behind it. There are also discussions about how the producers and crew recreated that world using different locations, costumes, props and other elements of film performance.
What’s ever nicer is that this book clears up a few culinary mysteries. I’ve heard of a drink called Pimm’s and a food called kedgeree which have been mentioned in several other books with U.K. characters, but I was never quite sure what they were. The book has several recipes, including kedgeree (a type of fish and rice dish eaten for either breakfast or dinner), Christmas pudding, chocolate souffle (oooh, yum!), and Pimm’s (a fruity alcoholic drink often consumed in summer, but I’ll pass on the cucumber).
Some of these recipes I can’t wait to try. Scones or Scottish shortbread, anyone? I may even try making the lemon barley water, just for fun.
I wish somebody would create a travel experience where you could live in Downton Abbey, costumes and all. There are tours available now, but I’d like to actually live in that environment, just for a week. It would be a tremendously fun educational experience. *sighs*
And for your entertainment: Who’s better with the quick quip — Violet or Isobel? (Video courtesy of Masterpiece PBS, YouTube)