In episode five of the second season of Downton Abbey, Mrs. Patmore, the cook, complains about the difficulty of getting good quality food because of World War One rationing. I’m slightly puzzled as to why this would be the case. After all, there was enough extra food to supply a soup kitchen at Isobel’s house. Not to mention the family and their guests were seen in the dining room munching away, in scene after scene.
Every stately home had a large kitchen garden to supply the house. There must have been at least one gardener left at Downton as he brought in flowers for Daisy’s wedding to William. Unlike Edith and Sybil, Lady Mary doesn’t appear to have thrown herself into war work. Perhaps she could have picked up a spade. (Sorry to non fans, who will have no hope of following my musings.)
In addition it was common practice for one of the farms on the estate, the ‘Home Farm”, to be farmed for the estate owners. Did they have to account for everything that was produced? Or could a nice side of beef be delivered up to the house?
I know that people in urban areas, mine and factory workers were at real risk of malnutrition, but what was it like for the upper classes?
If any of you are history buffs please let me know.