Where does my special acquaintance with recipes come from? I daresay I dream food constantly, read almost as much as my brain can process and at times my muse becomes even more active from watching a film or reading something notable.

Having devoured every single, solitary episode from Downton Abbey and partaken of the series twice or thrice, it is stands to reason that Mrs. Padmore dishes subliminally left a weighty desire for replicating some of the lesser opulent ones.

Bearing in mind that the original criterion for food preparation in the 30’s was set by the wealthy upper classes, it demanded a subtlety in flavor and simplistic perfection, which at times proved a challenging achievement.  The penchant for not good, but outstanding food in that era had percolated down to the middle echelons, since the multitude of cooks employed in large estates were middle class folk were recommended and retained for the excellence in their craft. However, some dishes needed to be elevated with sauces and vinaigrettes to mask their bland constitution as most British grub was notoriously flavorless and had to be heightened with a boost from other cultures around the continent.

Wealthy Americans visiting Europe would endeavor to pilfer or solicit savvy cooks from stately or suburban residences.  Acquiring the right chef de cuisine to run a kitchen and staff with distinction, flair and culinary excellence was, well, a fairly indomitable task.

There was no way of being present in Mrs. Padmore’s kitchen or any other in the 30’s, so I am replacing Lobster Thermidor for Nan’s Sheppard’s Pie and the Potatoes with Caviar and Crème Fraîche for Pommes de Terre Boulangere.  Something with a bit more simplicity and affordability for the diurnal palate.

Visions of Mrs. Padmore’s London Particular (an elevated term for Split Pea soup) and Pork Tenderloin with Madeira Green peppercorn sauce were clamoring to be replicated.  I am mulling the addition of a watercress salad with beets, orange segments and walnuts.  We shall see.

It’s going to be a busy week!

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Pantry Rat