The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. I have not updated this blog for years. To be fair (is it fair? It’s an excuse, really), I started it because I wanted to develop a writing style and practice writing about things I enjoyed, and then I got a book deal so I suppose that was a bit of a job done. And then it turns out that writing books so completely swallows every second of time you thought you had that doing a PhD looks like a walk in the park. 100,000 words in three years?! Ha! Pretender. Try 90,000 words in 10 months, and yes, that was researched from scratch, and written in a much more readable style than anything academic I’ve ever turned out.

Anyway, I’ve come back, probably not the start of something very regular, but I felt a Need. The Need is to add some supplementary information to the forthcoming Official Downton Abbey Cookbook, which I wrote (some years ago), and which is out in September. (Buy it from an independent book shop please, and if you don’t have one, try Imagined Things or Big Green Bookshop or Pritchards, all of whom will deliver and are much nicer than Amazon – use it, or lose it, folks). I wrote it partly because I was offered the chance, partly because I fancied writing a cookbook, and partly because the show is, let’s face it, rather problematic if you work in public history. It’s not always terribly accurate in its storylines and setups, although the costumes are gorgeous, and it is essentially a pretty soap (and that’s fine, clearly, it does not pretend to be anything more) – except that some people think it’s a documentary too, and therein lies the issue. Yes, it’s been researched, yes there is much that draws upon ‘real’ history there, BUT STILL.

Soz. I’m of the view that anything which gets people into history is brilliant, though I did wince at Henry VIII’s boxers in The Tudors, and don’t get me started on the Churchill film when he travels on the Tube. Anyway, I have no major beef with the series, but it has taken on a life of its own, and when you start seeing melamine fake pewter plates sold off the back of it, and deny weeny light up snow globes with Highlclere in quality plastic, really, it’s join them and anchor the power of a very popular series for good, or die screaming at Amazon.

When I worked at Audley End and the series was on, we knew all of the plot just from the visitor comments. We’d hear the words ‘Oh! It’s just like Downton‘, or ‘Look, isn’t she like Mrs Patmore’, a zillion times a day, to which our usual muttered responses were, ‘no, that’s set 40 years ahead of us, history, people, so very long’ and ‘not really, as Mrs Patmore was fictional and women were really rare in aristocratic kitchens before the war so she’s a bit of a misnomer, and also no, because she’s fictional‘. Cutting a rather ranty story short, I wanted to be part of what has become a truly a global phenomenon (the cookbook is out in France, Germany and Italy, as well as the UK and USA), specifically so that I could make sure that the cookbook reflected the actual food of the time, in England, and was not a hack job which would further complicate the lives of costumed interpreters everywhere. There are various UN-official cookbooks which are exactly this bad – and worse – the one which repeatedly talks of food ‘at the historic British abbeys’ when I presume it means ‘early twentieth century English country houses’ is particularly dreadful, but in the main it’s a tedious run of stuff like ‘Lady Mary’s favourite buns’, with nary a date nor a fact in sight.

My version uses only recipes published (or written) between c.1875 and 1930. The show is set between 1912 and 1925 (the film is set in 1927 and yes, I have been to the Royal Archive to do some background research in case I get asked anything and I’m now a huge fan of Henri Cédard, the Royal Chef at the time – but that is a whole other post). The recipes therefore span a period of time during which a real Mrs Patmore type would have trained and then been working at the fictional Downton. Unfortunately, due to the requirements of space and, I suspect, a desire to slightly remove some of my nerdiness, the sources for the recipes are listed as one long bibliography, without each title having a reference. I suspect very few readers will really mind, and it’s hardly important in the wider view of things, but for anyone who has bought a copy to cook from for their historic project and is wondering which recipes are Victorian, and which are 1920s, I have emerged from my hole to present you with a full list. Enjoy.

Kedgeree – Catherine Frances Frere (ed.), The Cookery Book of Lady Clark of Tillypronie (1909)

Truffled eggs – Charles Herman Senn, The New Century Cookbook (1904)

Health bread – John Kirkland, The Modern Baker, Confectioner and Caterer (1907)

Devilled biscuits – Frank Schloesser, The Cult of the Chafing Dish (1905)

English muffins – Anon. [Maria Rundell], Domestic Cookery and Household Management (nd. c.1911)

Pikelets – Mollie Stanley Wrench, Complete Home Cookery Book (1930)

  

Sardine salad – Dorothy Allhusen, A Book of Scents and Dishes (1927)

Lobster cutlets (rissoles) – Margaret Black, Superior Cookery (1887)

Ham with red wine and almonds – Hilda Leyel and Olga Hartley, The Gentle Art of Cookery (1929)

Cornish pasties – May Byron, How To Save Cookery Book (1915)

Eggs à la St James – Dorothy Allhusen, A Book of Scents and Dishes (1927)

Macaroni with a soufflé top – Fortune Stanley, English Country House Cooking (1972)

An Italian way of cooking spinach – Hilda Leyel and Olga Hartley, The Gentle Art of Cookery (1929, first published 1925)

Vegetable curry – Katharine Mellish, Cookery and Domestic Management (1901)

 

Madeira cake – Theodore Garrett (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Practical Cookery (c.1885)

Dundee Cake – M. M. Mitchell, The Treasure Cookery Book (1913)

Games cake – George Cox, The Art of Confectionery (1903)

Pineapple and Walnut Cake – Florence Jack, The Good Housekeeping Cookery Book (1925)

Chocolate cake (‘super-chocolate cake’) – Agnes Jekyll, Kitchen Essays (1922)

Fairy Cake baskets – Mary Fairclough, The Ideal Cookery Book (c.1911)

Victoria sandwiches – Isabella Beeton, The Book of Household Management (1888 (first published 1861))

Orange layer cake – Margaret Black, Superior Cookery (1887)

Madeleines – Charles Herman Senn, The New Century Cookbook (1904)

Best Grantham – Frederick Vine, Saleable Shop Goods (1907)

Scones – George Cox, The Art of Confectionery (1903)

Macaroons – Anon, Be-Ro Home Recipes (nd. 1930)
Sausage rolls – Alfred Suzanne, La Cuisine et Pâtisserie Anglaise et Americaine (1904)

Pork pie – M. M. Mitchell, The Treasure Cookery Book, (1913)

Veal and ham pie, rich shortcrust pastry – Frederick Vine, Savoury Pastry (1900)

Chicken stuffed with pistachios – Hilda Leyel and Olga Hartley, The Gentle Art of Cookery (1925)

Potted cheese – Anon. [Maria Rundell], Domestic Cookery and Household Management (nd. c.1911)

Sandwiches and ideas on filling them – Colonel Arthur Robert Kenney-Herbert, Picnics and Suppers (1901); John Kirkland, The Modern Baker, Confectioner and Caterer (1907); T. Herbert, Salads and Sandwiches (1890)

 

Stuffing for turkey or goose – ‘A Cordon Bleu’, Economical French Cookery for Ladies (1902)

Brussel sprouts with chestnuts – X. Marcel Boulestin, Simple French Cooking For English Homes (1923)

Christmas Pudding – Eliza Acton, Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845 and later editions)

Lemon mincemeat – Charles Elmé Francatelli, The Modern Cook (1896)

Yule Log – Frederick Vine, Saleable Shop Goods (1907)

Hot Cross Buns – Mabel Wijey (ed.), Warne’s New Model Cookery (1925)

Simnel Cake – Mrs S. Beaty-Pownall, The ‘Queen’ Cookery Books, no.11: Bread, Cake and Biscuits (1902)

Plum Cake – Margaret Black, Superior Cookery (1887)

 

Oysters au gratin – Theodore Garrett (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery (c.1885)

Caviar croutes – Charles Herman Senn, The New Century Cookbook (1904)

Stuffed tomatoes – Florence Jack, The Good Housekeeping Cookery Book (1925)

Chicken vol-au-vents – Frederick Vine, Savoury Pastry (1900)

 

Cucumber cream soup – Eliza Acton, Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845)

Consommé à la Jardinière – Anon., Recipes for High Class Cookery, as used in the Edinburgh School of Cookery (1912)

Palestine soup (Jerusalem artichoke) – Alice Martineau, Cantaloup to Cabbage (1929)

Apricot and marrow (zucchini) – Hilda Leyel and Olga Hartley, The Gentle Art of Cookery (1929, first published 1925)

 

Shrimp curry – Anon., Unpublished manuscript cookbook (c.1860-1890)

Trout in port-wine – Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery (1878)

Sole à la Florentine – Auguste Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire (1921)

Turbot with hollandaise sauce – Georgina Ward, Countess of Dudley, The Dudley Recipe Book (1913)

Fish cream – Aubrey Dowson (ed.) The Women’s Suffrage Cookery Book (c.1908)

Salmon mousse with horseradish cream – Auguste Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire (1921)

 

Filet mignon Lilli – Auguste Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire (1921)

Duck with apple sauce and calvados glaze – Agnes Marshall, Cookery Book (c.1888)

Duck with olives – Charles Herman Senn, The New Century Cookbook (1904)

Pork cutlets with sauce Robert – Charles Herman Senn, The New Century Cookbook (1904)

Poached gammon ham with parsley sauce – Florence George, The King Edward’s Cookery Book (1901)

Chicken a la crème paprika – Hilda Leyel and Olga Hartley, The Gentle Art of Cookery (1929, first published 1925)

Mutton with caper sauce – Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery (1878)

Veal cutlets perigourdine – X. Marcel Boulestin, Simple French Cooking For English Homes (1923)

Quail and watercress – Agnes Marshall, Cookery Book (c.1888)

Mint Sauce – Ruth Lowinsky, Lovely food (1931)

Bread Sauce – Alice Martineau, Caviare to Candy (1927)

Yorkshire Puddings – Alfred Suzanne, La Cuisine et Pâtisserie Anglaise et Americaine (1904)

 

Asparagus cups – Agnes Marshall, Cookery Book (c.1888)

Cabbage as they serve it in Budapest – Florence Leyel and Olga Hartley, The Gentle Art of Cookery (1925)

Artichoke salad – Hilda Leyel and Olga Hartley, The Gentle Art of Cookery (1925)

Fried potato cakes – Lillie Richmond, Richmond Cookery Book (1897)

Haricot beans with maître d’hôtel sauce – X. Marcel Boulestin, Simple French Cooking For English Homes (1923)

 

Fruit in jelly – Alice Martineau, Caviare to Candy (1927)

Champagne jelly – Auguste Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire (1921)

Chocolate and vanilla striped blancmange – Brown and Polson (n.d., late 19th century)

The Queen of Trifles – Theodore Garrett (ed.) The Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery (c.1885)

Syllabubs – Theodore Garrett (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery (c.1885)

Raspberry meringue – Alice Martineau, Caviare to Candy (1927)

Bananas au café – Hilda Leyel and Olga Hartley, The Gentle Art of Cookery (1925)

Peaches Nellie Melba – Auguste Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire (1921)

Pear charlotte – Charles Elmé Francatelli, The Modern Cook (1896)

Charlotte Russe – Anon., Recipes for High Class Cookery, as used in the Edinburgh School of Cookery (1912)

Ginger soufflé – M. M. Mitchell, The Treasure Cookery Book, (1913)

Crepes Suzette – Auguste Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire (1921)

Chocolate and coffee eclairs – Margaret Black, Superior Cookery (1887)

 

Cheese bouchées – Mabel Wijey (ed.), Warne’s New Model Cookery (1925)

Devilled kidneys – Eliza Acton, Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845)

Marmalade water ice – Agnes Marshall, The Book of Ices (1885)

Banana ice cream – Agnes Marshall, The Book of Ices (1885)

Punch romaine – Auguste Escoffier, Le Guide Culinaire (1921)

 

Toad-in-the-hole – Marion Harris Neil, How to Cook in Casserole Dishes (1914)

Lamb stew with semolina – Mary Fairclough, The Ideal Cookery Book (c.1911)

Beef stew with dumplings – Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery (1878)

Steak and kidney pudding – Edith Milburn (ed), Cookery Book (1913)

Cauliflower cheese – Isabella Beeton, Everyday Cookery (1913)

Steamed treacle pudding – Margaret Black, Household Cookery and Laundry Work (nd, c.1899)

Treacle tart – Mabel Wijey (ed.), Warne’s New Model Cookery (1925)

Rice pudding – Ruth Lowinsky, Lovely food (1931)

Summer pudding (picnic pudding) – Edith Milburn (ed), Cookery Book (1913)

Spotted DickMrs E. W Kirk, Tried Favourites (1929)

Jam and custard tarts – Isabella Beeton, The Book of Household Management (1888)

 

Cottage Loaf – Courtesy of John Swift, of Swift’s Bakery

Digestive biscuits – Theodore Garrett (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery (c.1885)

Gingerbread cake – Avis Crocombe, Unpublished manuscript cookbook (c.1870-1910)

Seed cake – Arthur Payne [Sarah Sharp Hamer], Cassell’s Shilling Cookery (1909)

Porter cake – Mrs S. Beaty-Pownall, The ‘Queen’ Cookery Books, no.11: Bread, Cake and Biscuits (1902)

 

Apple cheese – Eliza Acton, Modern Cookery (1855

Marrow and ginger jam – Lucy H Yates, The Country Housewife’s Book (1934)

Piccalilli – Mabel Wijey (ed.), Warne’s New Model Cookery (1925)

Pickled green tomatoes – Mabel Wijey (ed.), Warne’s New Model Cookery (1925)

Flavoured butters – Mary Jewry, Warne’s Model Cookery and Housekeeping Book (c.1870)

 

 

3 thoughts on “The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook

    1. The US one uses American imperial / US cups plus metric. There’s a section at the front which tells about weights and measures, and key ingredients and I’d advise reading it through before you start.

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