In a time where the divide between wealthy and average has never been more stark, shows like Downton Abbey seem... out of touch. Yet, I find myself drawn in over and over. Which is perhaps why I hate how much I want the new Downton Abbey Christmas cookbook. Seriously. The show is basically one long exegesis on the differences between the rich and the poor, and yet, pretty pictures and the promise of puddings have me ready to put on my maid's uniform and head below stairs.
Available for pre-order now and shipping on Oct. 27, the Downton Abbey Christmas cookbook itself is, of course, just as beautiful as you'd expect from a show known for its stunning sets, brilliant cinematography, and gorgeous costumes. It's full of weird recipes from England that you might have never thought to make, and yet, when you look at the pretty pictures, and read the accompanying two pages of historical background on the dish, you suddenly find yourself craving pheasant soup. Good news; they have a recipe for you. (If you can't hunt for pheasant on your own sprawling English estate's grounds, store bought turkey or rabbit is just fine.) And please do be a dear, and serve it from your finest bone china tureen (right from the pot) and into your fanciest of soup bowls (Ikea's finest).
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Do you need a history on Oliver Cromwell and his disdain for excess before you hit up the next page for a recipe for shrimp tarts? No, you do not. Will you be completely engrossed by the writing and read the whole thing like a regular book? Of course you will. And you will be captivated if it's anything like the original Downton Abbey Cookbook. Plus, this is full of festive fun with some fan-favorite moments from Christmas episodes written into the cookbook, along with character quotes. You might just find some new Christmas traditions in here for your family.
Plus, it's culinary fan fiction for most of us, and that sort of escapism feels magical right now. And if while you're cooking you curse the various parties for keeping you under stairs instead of elevating you to the ranks of Lords and Ladies, I think that's normal.