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Dining at Downton: A Culinary History

  • Museum of Food and Drink 62 Bayard Street Brooklyn 11222 United States (map)

From the turn of the century through the First World War and into the 1920s, the cult TV show Downton Abbey spans a time of great cultural and culinary change. In the new Official Downton Abbey Cookbook, Dr. Annie Gray provides an in depth culinary portrait of the daily life and festive occasions in the Crawley household – from “upstairs” sumptuous dinner party centerpieces to comforting “downstairs” puddings and pies.

Join Dr. Annie Gray and Victoria Flexner, of Edible History, for an evening of conversation about the culture and food in early 20th Century Britain, and celebrate the release of The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook, The Official Downton Abbey Cocktail Book, and the new Downton Abbey movie. Learn how Dr. Gray sourced recipes for the cookbook, the difference between ‘upstairs’ food and ‘downstairs’ food, and uncover who the real life Mrs. Patmores may have been. Dr. Gray will draw on her many years working in corsets in the kitchens of country houses in Britain to bring to life the history behind Downton, and its often surprisingly delicious (and sometime not) food.

An informal reception with book signings and small bites and cocktails from the The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook and Cocktail Book, and tea by Republic of Tea will follow.



Dr. Annie Gray is one of Britain’s leading food historians. She holds degrees from the University of Oxford, as well as York and Liverpool, and is an honorary research associate at the University of York. She is the author of a culinary biography of Queen Victoria, The Greedy Queen, Eating with Victoria (2017), and the forthcoming Victory in the Kitchen: The Story of Churchill’s Cook (2020), a biography of Georgina Landemare, Winston Churchill’s longest serving cook. She is the resident food historian on the popular BBC Radio 4 panel show, The Kitchen Cabinet, and has both presented and consulted for various British television productions, including the recent Victoria & Albert: The Royal Wedding, and The Sweet Makers. She is also a consultant for The Victorian Way series, featuring Mrs. Crocombe, for the English Heritage channel on YouTube. She works generally as a consultant to the heritage industry on historic food and dining, and worked for many years as a costumed interpreter, leading the service wing team at the award-winning Audley End House (English Heritage). She is a huge fan of a proper suet pudding.

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Victoria Flexner is the founder of Edible History, a historical supper club based in New York City. She is a former museum educator who has worked at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, and The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Victoria also boasts a deep knowledge of the New York City food scene, having worked with boutique restaurant PR firm, Hall Company. Victoria holds a degree in History from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom and a Masters in Historical Studies from The New School in New York City. She has led more than 30 Edible History dinners around the city —in restaurants, urban farms, historical homes, and even a pottery studio.

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The Republic of Tea, leading purveyor of premium teas and herbs, is pleased to introduce three Limited Edition Downton Abbey® Movie Teas in celebration of the highly anticipated Downton Abbey film by Focus Features, hitting theaters on September 20, 2019. The new blends commemorating the movie – Lord & Lady Grantham’s Tea, Violet & Mary’s Tea and The Bates’ Tea – are inspired by the award-winning TV series’ characters, bringing to life the drama, relationships and intriguing personalities of the Crawley household. The Republic of Tea enriches people’s lives through its premium teas and herbs, education and innovation, as it emphasizes a “Sip by Sip Rather Than Gulp by Gulp” lifestyle. Learn more at: