If you've ever watched the television show Downton Abbey, you've probably deduced that dining was a very, very big deal in the lives of the landed gentry of Edwardian England.
And the food itself? Turns out, it was "incredibly sophisticated," says Ivan Day, one of Britain's preeminent food historians. "The upper-middle classes and the gentry and the aristocracy — they saw food as a way of impressing people," Day tells The Salt.
That's hard to reconcile with the reputation that dogged British cuisine throughout much of the 20th century as boring, tasteless fare.