Food on Fridays: Downton Abbey Tea

For the Food on Fridays carnival, any post remotely related to food is welcome—though we love to try new dishes, your post doesn’t have to be a recipe. We’re pretty relaxed over here, and stories and photos are as welcome as menus and recipes. When your Food on Fridays contribution is ready, just grab the button to include with your post. It ties us together visually. Then fill in the boxes of this linky tool to join the fun!

Food on Fridays with Ann

My husband and I began watching Downton Abbey just this year. We would watch an episode whenever we had a free weekend, and at least once during every show I would crave tea. The characters sip it at breakfast and in the afternoon—even at night, Mrs. Hughes would settled into her room with a tea tray for a few moments of reflection at the end of her day.

Not only the sight of tea pouring from the pot, but the gentle clink of porcelain cup against saucer would stir something inside of me. For a few minutes during any given show, all I could think about was tea. But Downton Abbey offers no commercial breaks that would release me to hustle downstairs and fill the kettle with water.

So I’d just sit there, longing.

My husband and I managed to catch up on back episodes so that I could tune in with the rest of America to watch the Season 3 Finale.

And finally, I remembered the tea before the show began.

I put the water on to boil, pulled down the silver tray normally on display on the fireplace mantel, and selected a teacup from one of many my mom has given me—a Royal Albert pattern made in England: “Old Country Roses.”

tea on tray

Though I presumed Mrs. Hughes would be sipping Earl Grey or some other black tea, I can’t have caffeine after twelve o’clock noon, so I brewed an herbal blend, carrying everything to the room where I’d be watching the show.

I settled in and waited. When the music began and the dog’s bottom waggled onto the screen during the opening credits, I poured the tea.

I lifted the cup to my lips and sipped as ladies on screen interacted. When I set it down again, the cup clinked against the saucer. I smiled, enjoying the sensory experience and feeling connected across time to my English ancestors.

At some point, however, I realized with a gasp that the unpolished silver tray—purposely left that way to contribute to our Shabby Chic decor—would agitate Mr. Carson, the butler, who would most definitely disapprove. And for all I know, it might even shame my English ancestors.

So when the season finale ended, I picked up the tray, carried everything downstairs where I washed the cup and saucer and returned them to the cabinet. I rinsed the teapot and placed it on a shelf. Then I wiped off the tray and leaned it against the fireplace bricks where it will stay—unused and unpolished—until the start of Season Four, when just maybe I’ll consider pulling out some silver polish and giving it a shine.

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Photos by Ann Kroeker. “Pin” these images in a way that links back to this particular page, giving proper credit.

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  • Comments

    1. I have not seen any of Downton Abbey yet – and I can’t wait to start watching it from the beginning! I am sure I would crave tea while watching it as well. I’ve booked tickets to see the house where it is filmed this summer, as it’s only about half an hour from where I live.Your tea cup is beautiful, and although Mr Carson might not approve, I am sure your unpolished silver tray is beautiful too :) Thank you for hosting Food on Fridays.

      • annkroeker says:

        April, I have been up and down about the show. At first, I didn’t think I would like it. Then it grew on me and I began to appreciate it. Then I liked it and looked forward to tuning in. Then I felt it took a nose dive in quality of writing/storyline and I didn’t like it much. And then, to be honest, sometimes we watched it just to poke fun at some of the scenes. I’ll continue to watch and enjoy it on some level, with tea of course, but I’m no longer in awe.

    2. I love Downton Abby and I loved reading your post! Thanks for hosting Food on Fridays! Enjoy your weekend.

    3. Thanks so much for hosting Ann! I’m always compelled to knit when I watch Downton Abbey, but a cup of tea sounds like a lovely tradition.

      • annkroeker says:

        Knitting sounds so quiet and reflective. Perhaps you could do both? Drink tea AND knit while watching the show?

    4. This is great Ann. I so often felt the same way but never remembered to make my tea ahead of time. As far as your assessment of Downtown Abbey – it’s a bit like “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” You’ve said whatt I’ve been thinking but was too timid to say.

      • annkroeker says:

        Oh, Linda, I’m so relieved to hear that you feel the same! I, too, have been shy to admit it (see how I buried it in the comments rather than blaring it in the blog post itself?), but I just decided to blurt it out to April before she started tuning in, so at least she would hear another perspective.

    5. I am wildly impressed that you have silver service, even if it is unpolished.

    6. What a delightful way to enjoy your tea while watching Downton Abbey. We like the show too!

    7. We must share a pot of Earl Grey one morning in June complete with clanking tea cups and almond flour shortbread.

      Haven’t jumped on the Downtown Abbey wagon yet. Maybe I don’t need to?

    8. Hi Ann,

      Great idea to link up together. I agree with your assessment of Downton Abbey. Such a shame that it has already hit its peak but it is still somewhat fun. Mostly it is the beauty of the scenery, house, and clothing, as well as the old way of life that appeals to me (maybe that is the only thing that appeals to me).

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