CWA has mam­moth show cook-up

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Find A - – Ju­lia Carlisle, AAP

ARMED with nearly 3000 kilo­grams of flour, 30,000 por­tions of straw­berry jam, thou­sands of litres of cream and about 55,000 teabags – the Coun­try Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion of NSW is back at Syd­ney’s Royal Easter Show bak­ing up a storm.

For 12 days ladies at the CWA Tea Room will tire­lessly and hap­pily serve nearly 4000 scones a day to the crowds in the Life­style Pav­il­ion.

“For many show­go­ers, the CWA is their first stop of the day,” CWA show chair­woman Carol Vin­cent said.

Days start at 6.30am to mix, then cut the dough, with the first trays go­ing into ovens at 8.45am ready for the rush of vis­i­tors. The ovens don’t stop un­til 4.30pm.

Scones are light, fluffy and per­fectly shaped us­ing the “good old recipe that works”, with the first crowd show­ing no signs of com­plaints as they tucked into their Devon­shire tea.

Then there’s the is­sue of “scone eti­quette”.

“Al­ways break the scone with your hands... never use a knife to cut it,” Carol says.

But an is­sue whip­ping up a storm be­tween Aus­tralia and the mother coun­try con­cerns the or­der of the jam and the cream.

While Carol in­sists it’s jam then cream, there’s a UK group in Devon – the birth­place of Devon­shire tea – claim­ing you put cream first, then jam.

Carol shakes her head in hor­ror.

The CWA, which has been serving up teas at the show for 71 years, says beat­ing last year’s record of 53,000 scones will be tough be­cause the show is two days shorter and doesn’t fall within school holidays.

But it’s not about records for the CWA, which was formed 96 years ago for coun­try women to bat­tle hard­ship, lone­li­ness and de­pres­sion to­gether.

Carol, who joined 42 years ago, says she did so be­cause she was new to the town of Nel­son Bay and wanted to learn hand­i­craft.

“I used to come to the Easter Show as a young girl and look at the hand­i­craft sec­tion and al­ways ask ‘how can I learn to do it?’.”

The CWA, she says, has adapted to the times and is more vi­tal today than ever.

The state’s 9000 mem­bers are women of all ages, from all pro­fes­sions – with some re­gions mak­ing sep­a­rate groups for the younger mem­bers.

Along with men­tal health sup­port, teach­ing first-aid, cooking and sewing, the women also raise thou­sands of dol­lars for disas­ter-af­fected com­mu­ni­ties.

“We teach life skills, but also pro­vide a place for women to talk,” Carol said.

A cheery vol­un­teer then hap­pily reels off Sun­day’s scone tally.

“We’ve done 1400 scones by 10.30am,” she says.

Records may be bro­ken.

PHOTO: FILE

BUSY BAK­ERS: The New South Wales Coun­try Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion is cooking up a storm for Syd­ney’s Royal Easter Show.

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