Those who tuned in for the first episode on Sunday night on PBS witnessed Martha Levinson (aka Shirley MacLaine) roll up to the country estate where her daughter, Cora, lives with husband Robert, head of the Crawley clan.
Robert's mum Lady Violet (aka Maggie Smith) to Cora: "I'm so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I'm with her, I'm reminded of the virtues of the English."
Cousin Matthew Crawley: "But isn't she American?"
The Brit melodrama has spawned countless spoofs. So it's no surprise a cookbook, liberally seasoned with the Crawleys and their cadre of servants, would surface.
"The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook: From Lady Mary's Crab Canapes to Mrs. Patmore's Christmas Pudding" ($21.95), by Emily Ansara Baines, promises more than "150 recipes from Upstairs and Downstairs."
Noted on its cover: "This book is unofficial and unauthorized. It is not authorized, approved, licensed, or endorsed by Carnival Film & Television Ltd., its writers or producers, or any of its licensees."
Fans of the show will enjoy the name dropping and references to the first two seasons, from Mrs. Patmore's Dropped Roasted Chicken to the Upstairs Anchovy-Onion Tarts.
The author peppered the book with "Times Gone By" and "Etiquette Lessons" sidebars.
While the book has it charms, seasoned cooks and those with a knowledge of English cookery may look askance at a few recipes.
Shepherd's pie topped with pastry, rather than mashed potatoes? We think not.
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