W.I. Newsletter January 2022

Spirits were raised (not alcoholic ones, although wine was involved!) this month as 32 of our members gathered at Esseborne Manor for a post-Christmas lunch, such a welcome start to the New Year.  There was much chatter as members took their seats at their allotted table and their pre-selected three-course lunch was served.  Our President Julia spoke a few words of welcome, and thanked Aileen and Lynne for organising the event, and Sue and Sharon for sorting out the table decorations, which comprised a colourful array of pots of primroses.  Each member was then able to take one home with her at the end of the afternoon.  Many members spoke of how much they had enjoyed the occasion having been deprived of social interaction for so long.

With so much uncertainty last year, it was decided to make this month’s meeting a Zoom meeting just in case there was a return to social restrictions and or wintery weather. 

Therefore, we were delighted to virtually welcome our speaker Felicity Cloake a London based freelance travel and cookery writer. Unfortunately, she was recovering from Covid, still testing positive on day eight!   Felicity is best known for her “How to cook the perfect …” series of articles published in The Guardian. She explained that she carries out extensive research for these articles using her very large collection of cookery books as well as other sources.  Having picked a dish, she will keep testing and testing, in her own very small kitchen, until she feels she has reached as close to perfection as possible. 

She is also a published author, and her book One More Croissant was a result of travelling around France by bicycle.  She travels as lightly as possible and camps along the way in a very small tent. She cycled up and down the country indulging in all sorts of delights and admitted to sampling about 40 croissants during her trip, which resulted in creating a rating system with marks out of ten.  Despite the country’s reputation, they were by no means all a ten, some of them quite dreadful! 

Her latest book, Red Sauce, Brown Sauce, which is due to be published in June 2022 is the result of a three-month cycling trip she took around the UK from May to July 2021. Felicity noticed that many people had very strong opinions on what constitutes a good breakfast, so the trip was to research the different breakfasts popular across Britain. Felicity sampled white pudding in Cornwall, Manx kippers in the Isle of Man, laverbread in Swansea and porridge in Carrabridge in Scotland, home of the World Porridge Making Championships. She also visited ethnic cafes such as Polish and Asian and the typical British “greasy spoon” cafés, which she was sad to discover are fast disappearing, being replaced by coffee shops and fancy cafés. 

Our next meeting is on 24th February and is a Thai Cookery Demonstration with Goi Brown.  This meeting is due to be back in the Village Hall.  Please arrive in time for a 7.30 p.m. start.