The country house breakfast consisted of “honest” plain food not fancy sauced food, understood as French. The ingredients were from the walled garden, home farm, and local estate. Because there were often guests, the breakfast table was an opportunity for the gentry to display the wealth of their estates in the quality of the meats, vegetables and ingredients produced on the surrounding lands.
Breakfasts were unhurried, leisurely affairs with plenty of silver and glassware on show to impress the host’s guests. Newspapers were available for the family and guests to catch up on the day’s news. Indeed, it is still socially acceptable today to read newspapers at the breakfast table.
The menu itself consisted of game (in season), fish, fresh breads, devilled kidneys, kippers, potted shrimp and crab, fish pies, pickled meat dishes from brisket and goose to ox and thrush, apple and strawberry fools, and tea, and coffee. In the era of Downton Abbey, Indian-style dishes, such as pilau, kedgeree (rice, smoked fish and eggs) and curried lobster were also popular. Eggs and bacon were also a breakfast staple; bacon was first cured in the 18th century.
Please join the Long Beach Camerata Singers for our upcoming concert, “The Music of Downton Abbey,” on October 2 at 4:30pm. Performed at the Beverly O’Neill Theater in Long Beach, California, your ticket price includes “Cream Tea” at Elise’s Tea Room in Bixby Knolls to enhance your concert experience! Click Here to purchase tickets.