Mt. Lebanon Library hosts ‘Downton Abbey’ tea
Clotted cream, lemon curd, scones and English sandwiches featuring radishes, smoked salmon and dill, and of course, tea, were just a few of the things that were on the menu at “Downton Abbey,” or rather the Mt. Lebanon Public Library recently. The library’s meeting room felt more like an English parlor for “Tea at ‘Downton Abbey’” on March 7. More than 70 people attended the event.
The library’s staff thought it would be a good idea to have a “Downton Abbey”-themed tea because of the popularity of the PBS series.
“It’s a fun thing to do, because we knew “Downton Abbey” is one of the most popular programs in recent history,” said library Director Cynthia Richey. She said she thought it would be fun to hold the program now because season three of the show recently ended, and folks could have a chance to talk about the episodes while enjoying an authentic English-style tea. The tea was complete with authentic foods from English cookbooks, including chicken salad sandwiches with watercress, oat cakes, ginger cookies, raspberry scones and Yorkshire parkin, which is a ginger cake.
In addition to the tea, homemade food and desserts – most of it made by library staffers – the evening included discussion of the show, trivia and a chance for folks to vote for their favorite character. Folks attending also got the chance to talk about what may happen in upcoming episodes of the series and possibly send their ideas to series creator Julian Fellowes.
“It brings everyone together who are passionate about the series,” Richey said.
Public Services Librarian Brandon Priddy, who helped organize the event, said that everyone on the staff at the library talks about the show. He said he likes “Downton Abbey” because “it’s a combination of high-brow and low-brow.”
Allyson Hayes and Josh Wilson of Dormont dressed in their best “Downton Abbey”-esque attire for the tea. Hayes said she is “obsessed with ‘Downton Abbey’” and said she makes scones and tea at home. She joked that Wilson “probably likes it (the show) more than I do.” Hayes added, “It brings you back to a time we don’t live in now.”
Karen Ferraro of Brighton Heights came to the event with a group of friends who told her about it. She said she was flipping channels one day and caught an episode and then went back and watched the rest. “The years coincide with my parents’ birth,” she said of the time period in which the show takes place. “The dialogue is fabulous. Violet cracks me up,” Ferraro said of the character Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith.
Colleen McDonnell of Mt. Lebanon came to the tea with her daughter Jane Dattilo, also of Mt. Lebanon. “We’re big fans,” McDonnell said.
“The characters are great,” Dattilo said. McDonnell agreed, saying, “I can’t find any I don’t like. They’re such interesting characters.”
“We want them to do one every month,” said Kathy Vergona of Scott Township, about the tea.
Richey said the library plans to do a similar tea after each season of Downton Abbey.