When it comes to beloved characters, few from Downton Abbey fit the bill better than Mrs. Patmore. Since the first episode and through the end, Mrs. Patmore has stuck through the trials and tribulations of the Crawley family and their downstairs staff. The house cook, Mrs. Patmore, has remained a mentor for her staff, and a mainstay of the Abbey.
Throughout the six seasons, Mrs. Patmore has been a source of insults, jabs, and wisdom only equal to Mr. Carson. Her quick wit and observational humor is some of the best around and offers either a much-needed break from the reality of situations or a reminder of it. Here are her ten best quotes of the series, ranked.
10 “What the eye doesn’t see, the heart won’t grieve over”
This little remark was made in reaction to some spilled food in her kitchen. While most of the time Mrs. Patmore might have gotten upset over a mess, this little ounce of wisdom was meant to subdue a bit of drama.
While it is a bit of a throwaway line, the implications are marvelous. In the line, she is only referring to a bit of food lost on the floor. Put into practice though, it adds a bit of insight and critique on ignorance. What we might not see won't affect us!
9 Daisy: “The chimney is not drawing properly, the oven is not hot enough.”/Mrs Patmore: “It’s a poor workman who blames his tools”
One of the more lovely relationships to follow through the series is that of Daisy and Mrs. Patmore. While there are a few mentor and mentee relationships, the best of the series is this. The two are inseparable throughout, but not always for the best.
Daisy's young spirit and occasional naivete gets in the way of the experienced, and often hard-headed, Mrs. Patmore. When Daisy has an excuse for a mistake, Mrs. Patmore has a lesson right up her sleeve. It is remarkable to see where the pair start off compared to where they end up.
8 “You don’t have to be Shakespeare, just say nice things”
This is another bit of wisdom that Mrs. Patmore gave to Daisy. When William was dying, Daisy struggled to find the proper things to say. As a working-class Yorkshire girl, her confidence in her speaking ability isn't as strong as most. So when she confided in Mrs. Patmore, this was the cook's response.
While it is blunt and a little dismissive, she has a point. It speaks to how much faith Mrs. Patmore has in Daisy. While she might not be the sharpest tool in the shed, Daisy has a lot of heart and spirit, and Mrs. Patmore never failed to see that.
7 “It sounds like the cry of the banshee… I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.”
So much of Downton Abbey concerns itself with the battle between tradition and modernity, new and old, and innovation and stagnation. Few characters run into it as much as Mrs. Patmore. A rough and tumble traditional British cook, Mrs. Patmore is immediately distrusting of equipment that makes to much fuss.
Once a phone was installed in the abbey, Mrs. Patmore remarked how it cried like the banshee of old Celtic tales. This isn't the first time she was wary of change. Whether its the wireless, electricity, or a mixer, all of these new inventions push Mrs. Patmore to her limits.
6 “If you must pay money, better to a doctor than an undertaker.”
A few of the older characters and hell even a few of the young ones run into a lot of health scares. Sybil, Isobel, and Mrs. Hughes are just a few who suffer from major health issues. When it comes to Mrs. Patmore, she isn't spared either. She even struggles to have to go get a new pair of eyeglasses at one point.
But, this fun little quote shows that Mrs. Patmore still honors and admires the work of doctors. While she might be stubborn and afraid at times to see them, it still matters to her to go out and take care of herself from time to time.
5 "Sometimes you can spend too long on a one-sided love."
Another aspect of life that Mrs. Patmore assists Daisy in is the arena of love. While she might not come across as the ultimate romantic, it is her bluntness and realism that comes into play. She has a lot of advice to give when Daisy suffers from Alfred's lack of interest.
This quote, in particular, is very resonating. While Daisy might try and try again, Patmore sees the futility in it all. Why go after someone who has no interest in you romantically, when you could go and find someone who does (or learn to love yourself instead!).
4 "I’ll have no swear words in here, thank you very much. Unless I’m doing the swearing."
Mrs. Patmore is a bit more on the uptight and traditional side. She values tradition, conservatism, and the old way. But, unlike her contemporaries such as Mr. Carson or Mrs. Hughes, Mrs. Patmore is a bit more rough and tumble. This quote personifies that sid of her perfectly.
Patmore is a working-class girl. She is constantly getting her hands dirty and working harder than almost everyone downstairs. So, while no one else gets to fall out of line and challenge the status quo, she can do it all she pleases.
3 “You’re always dozy, but tonight you’d make Sleeping Beauty look alert.”
This is just a really great insult. Starting with Shakespeare and following in the footsteps of Blackadder, Mrs. Patmore continues the tradition of really fun and lighthearted insults. No one can roast someone (or meat) as good as Mrs. Patmore.
And no one gets it worse than Daisy. While Daisy means well, she is constantly making mistakes in the kitchen. Because of this, Mrs. Patmore continues to throw out the most savage insults around. If anyone could survive internet culture (apart from the tech obviously) it'd be Mrs. Patmore.
2 "Mr. Carson, all women need someone to show a bit of interest every now and then. Preferably in a manner that’s not entirely proper."
Mrs. Patmore is never personified as the most ladylike among the high-class ladies and lowly servants of Downton. In fact, she is probably the least sophisticated in the bunch. But, she is still a human woman and one who is more in touch with her romantic side that her appearance would lead one to believe.
This quote, which not only taught Mr. Carson a lesson but also made him hilariously uncomfortable, showcases this. Mrs. Patmore can be romantic as much as Lady Mary or Sybill. Just because she works downstairs and wears an apron doesn't make a difference.
1 “Nothing in life is sure.”
The queen of frankness and truth as always. This quote came from the very beginning of the series in reaction to the sinking of the Titanic. Like the false claims of the unsinkable ship, life itself can never be taken as guaranteed. Who knows what kind of loops are in store for us while we glide through it?
Mrs. Patmore probably knows this more than anyone. While she might not have ever expected to be the lead cook in a gaudy mansion, she also probably never expected to be alone as long as she has. Mrs. Patmroe knows the ins and outs of life more than most on the series.