WI Kitchen Stories

I am proud as punch that a labour of love project I have been collaborating with the wonderful writer Jessica Johnson on, has this month seen the light of day and been published in the pages of BBC Good Food magazine. Over the past two years Jessie and I have been visiting the homes of a handful of the Women’s Institutes 220,000 members to commemorate this years centenary of the organisation. Set up in Wartime Britain to educate and train women in aiding the war efforts through food production and revitalisation in rural areas, the WI has become synonymous with a ‘make do and mend’ philosophy, promoting home-made skills and of course creating some of the nations best home-bakers. It is this aspect that our project focuses on, those everyday women who have recipes and stories to relay about life as a WI member in it’s 100th year.

Meet Mary who is scientific in approach, creating delicious loaves which she supplies to a local WI market stall to be sold for charity. She experiments making different sour dough starters, meticulously annotating her findings on the best methods and configurations of recipes.

Then there’s Laura who had a dream to change her career and start a business selling cheesecakes using a recipe passed on from her mum. Friends she made at her local WI helped support her from first market foray, to the thriving regular stall and online business she now boasts today.

Finally we have Kathy, a family baker who discovered her Mother’s handwritten recipe book after she had passed away. The recipe’s are from wartime Britain, emphasising austerity and moderation yet without sacrificing flavour. Tips to create delicious meals using very little, a feat we could all probably learn from in our times of excess.

All of these stories and many more are still available for commissions in this centenary year. Our joint blog, chronicling the journey so far and other musings in food can be seen at WI Kitchen Stories

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