Vintage Post – originally posted in March of 2013
I don’t know how we hadn’t heard of Downton Abbey until recently, but we hadn’t. However we’ve managed to catch up on all three seasons in three short months. 🙂
When our Date Night challenge was to pick a country as an at-home theme, we couldn’t resist the chance to have an authentic Downton Abbey dinner set in the beautiful country of England.
I took on the role of Mrs. Patmore for the dinner preparations, and Tom became Mr. Carsen as he picked the wine, set the table perfectly and lit the candles. After dinner was ready we changed into our proper dinner attire, although it was a bit on the casual side since Tom only had a black tie. Very frowned upon in Downton Abbey for the evening meal, as Matthew Crawley soon discovered.
In researching authentic recipes from the period, I was surprised to discover just how much went in to each course. The Huffington Post provides some excellent information on the subject:
There is a lot to love about the show. The characters are all compelling in their own way, and it is fascinating to watch a household that functions as a tiny town. But what we particularly love is how much cooking and eating takes place during each episode. Meals were a big part of life during the Edwardian period. The noble class used it as a way to, quite literally, taste their social status. They ate four times a day — breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner. And the dinners were particularly elaborate, ranging from six to 22 courses! (emphasis mine)
We cut our dinner down to only four courses, and we were stuffed by the dessert. 🙂
Our first course consisted of a delicious Creamy Watercress Soup garnished with blue cheese crumbles and breadcrumbs.
Our second course was a palette cleanser of Meringue Nests with Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberry Sauce.
Our Third course was by far our favorite–Lamb Stew with Lemon and Dill served over a bed of Orzo.
Our Fourth course was Apple Confit with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
We played the Downton Abbey Sound Track on Pandora to make the evening feel special.
It was a perfectly wonderful night together and got better when Mr. Carsen showed up after dinner to do the dishes. Mrs. Patmore was quite relieved.
We ended the night be watching the next episode in our quest to finish Season 3.
What we love about this time period as depicted in this series is the respect people showed to one another. Of course, there are the inconsiderate and those who fake their respect, but for the most part the etiquette is sincere. I believe we have lost something very precious in our modern culture. Maybe this is why Downton Abbey has become so popular in the United States. Maybe we do long for a bit more tradition and manners.
This date was one we will always remember. And we may just do it again next year. After all, we only hit on 4 courses of the potential 22 course dinner menu. That leaves three more dates to try without repeating a recipe.
We hope this will inspire you to try such a date yourself. You will be ever-so pleased.