This lovely book, The Official Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook, has been on my wish list for awhile. I recently found a used copy in really great condition and it found its way to my home. I spent a bit of time reading it and thought it was the perfect thing to feature today on Teapot Tuesday.
The book is split up into different parts with the first section sharing a bit of history of tea, especially tea at Downton Abbey and British Tea Characteristics. . I found it really interesting and picked up a few things to share.
In the introduction I learned that the Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza, carried a chest of tea when she arrived in England in 1662 to marry Charles II. Supposedly this changed the habits of the English forever even though tea had already been available in England. Apparently a decade prior to her marriage the first coffee house opened in London and were soon found everywhere. At that time only men were permitted, can you imagine? In 1657, Thomas Garway, who owned one of these coffee houses in London, started selling tea leaves and offering it as a drink. He advertised it as the beverage for “persons of quality” and the idea of tea drinking took off.
As the idea of tea took hold, households had their own supply and it was used as a family drink and considered to be used for good health. The mistress of the house was in charge of the tea caddy and actually held the key in her possession which was a stark contrast to the male only coffee/tea house scenario playing out in the public sector.
The first known tea shop in London opening in 1706 by Thomas Twining. Ir remained male only but women would come in carriages to the back entrance and have their servants quietly buy tea for them. Imagine buying tea on the sly? All I can say is that I am glad we have evolved from those days.
The book is full of beautiful glossy pictures and recipes. Oh my – the recipes. Just look at this beautiful picture showing some of the recipes made in the book.
Of course I absolutely loved to see the various pictures featuring the cast of Downton Abbey like this one featuring Mrs. Crawley and the Dowager Countess having tea with a beautiful tea set in a garden.
I was going to get ambitious and make a recipe from the book for this post but since Mr. Diamond is out of town for a few days I decided I would wait till he could enjoy it as well but what about Lemon Drizzle Cake for the first test of the recipes?
Have you ever had a proper tea? I think I need to bring back the idea of afternoon tea again – maybe not with quite all of the baked goods – but just the idea of taking tea in the afternoon makes me smile. What about you? Leave me a comment and remember that each comment this month goes toward our Comment for a Cause. – Ohio Guidestone.