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Why I Love Downton Abbey

You think I love Downton Abbey because of the drama. That I’m rooting for Anna and Bates. Or maybe because Michelle Dockery was quoted as saying the show is like a soap written by a poet. And you know I love poetry! (Amazing one at the inauguration, by the way).


I love Downton because the kitchen reminds me of Ballymaloe! (well, that and the swirling musical score. Just like The West Wing — swirling music helps the viewer gracefully move from one episode to the next. That’s my thesis.)

Poor Daisy. She is at the bottom of the social hierarchy and works so hard. Why can’t she even sit with the downstairs staff? Why?!

On the first episode of Downton, the kitchen staff makes kedgeree, a rice dish that has smoked fish, hardboiled eggs, and curry powder in it. We made this at Ballymaloe. I hated it! It’s supposed to be part of this Anglo-Indian cuisine … during colonial rule of India, the British brought the dish back to the UK as a breakfast-y/brunchy item. Blaaaah! Smoked fish with rice and egg? It wasn’t my cup of tea (get it?, Anglo-Indian cuisine semi-pun!).

Also, did anyone spot the lovely Christmas pudding that the Dowager Countess delightfully digs her spoon into during the Christmas episode. I have a recipe for that as well!

I am anxious to make some of the food prepared for Edith’s wedding. Alfred didn’t get it — but that calvados-glazed duckling looked pretty good to me. Other Edith wedding food: truffled eggs on toast, oysters a la russe, lobster rissoles with mousseline sauce, and an asparagus salad with champagne-saffron vinaigrette.

What a feast. As Cousin Violet says, “If the poor don’t want it, you can bring it over to me.”

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