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Cooking a meal that satisfies everyone at the table is hard enough. Harder still, is to prepare something that transports them to another era. That is exactly what the writer of the Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook wanted to create; a resource for making meals that invoke images of an english manor and compel the epicure to affect Victorian manners.

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Downton Abbey is one of my favorite shows. I’ve followed it ever since it debuted here in the U.S. And the dinner scenes featuring the Crawley family are some of my favorites. My father also loves the show. His favorite character is the kitchen maid turned assistant cook Daisy, for specifically the dynamic of her relationship with Mrs. Pattmore, the head cook. I’m partial to the storyline of Lady Mary and her many suitors.

Anyway, in nearly each episode there is mention of some delicious dish which I have either never heard of or never tried. And now, finally, there is a way for me to experience the grandeur that is dining at Downtown Abbey. The Unofficial Cookbook is not part of the PBS experience, but it is a nice way to supplement the DVDs, books, jewelry and other merchandise surrounding the show.

Author Emily Ansara Baines has worked as a professional baker and caterer, most recently in New York City. Like me her favorite show is Downton Abbey. And in my opinion, she has created the ultimate in gourmet experiences for home cooks who seek to emulate their favorite show. I tried a few recipes and I actually danced in my kitchen for each one. However, this is NOT a book for an inexperienced cook. For some of these recipes I’d have to call my Cousin Chef (deets on him coming soon) for some help. So if you’re not someone who is used to cooking very involved meals, with lots of detailed steps and you don’t know how to prep veggies like leeks and artichokes– you may find this book a little too advanced.

Dishes like vichyssoise, canapes, crumpets, osso buco, beef  wellington and such… Just think about that.

Anyway, the book is broken into multiple courses for upstairs and down, with recipes inspired by every character! And its not just sit down dinners, there are recipes for hors d’oeuvres, bites for tea time and more!

I’m so glad to have this book in my arsenal. My plan is to hold on to it and try a few more recipes to tide me over during the hiatus. And then when Season 6, the final season of Downton Abbey premieres, I’ll host a dinner party of at least five courses! Its going to be a jolly good time! Cheers!

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