Imagine my surprise when I opened the package and discovered a copy of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook! Actually something I might voluntarily select for myself?? I could hear my inner Dowager Countess: "Well, now I've seen ev'rything."
The author of this shockingly desirable gift, Emily Ansara Baines, also wrote The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook, which was the focus of a fabulous dinner party last year. Ms. Baines' latest contribution to the unauthorized cookbook scene takes on both the Crawleys' refined francophile cuisine in Downton's upstairs dining room (including recipes for each of the 8-13 courses that were de rigueur for a proper meal with service à la Russe, as well as a selection of classic teatime favorites), and the hearty British workingman's fare dished out below-stairs in the servants' hall. Interspersed with the recipes are snippets of etiquette advice, and historical curiosities related to the recipes and the show's plot lines. (Disappointingly, there is no recipe for Turkish Delight.)
I foresee at least one Unofficial Downton Dinner Party in my future, though... and Valentine's Day might be just the right occasion to break out some Crawley-style decadence.