CWA has mammoth show cook-up
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.
BUSY BAKERS: The New South Wales Country Women’s Association is cooking up a storm for Sydney’s Royal Easter Show.