Busy Bees stay busy in Cantuar for over 70 years
“The people did not mind sitting up there for and hour and a half and if you called them too soon they would be kind of upset because they didn’t get to visit enough,” Robertson said.
People would come from all around the countryside to the Cantuar Busy Bees Fowl Supper, and as Currie admits, it was no small task to feed the people that would come.
“We would feed counting ourselves, up to 500 people,” Currie said. “That would mean 16 to 25 pound turkeys, and we would need 16 people to cook these turkeys.”
It was truly a monumental task for the Busy Bees with lots of behind the scenes work in order to pull off the supper.
The people that were in charge of cooking the turkeys also had to provide a gallon of gravy along with at least a gallon of stuffing in addition to the 25 pound turkey. That person would also have to cook 25 pounds of turnips or 20 pounds of potatoes and a large salad and bring pickles.
If you didn’t cook a turkey, you had to cook a large dutch oven of peas and carrots, or 25 pounds of turnips and potatoes and supply six pies. There were a lot of days taken up to prepare this annual event.
“When you mentioned to other people how much food you brought as a person they could hardly believe it,” said Currie.
Robertson added there was work that needed to be done before and after the event as well.
“We always had clean up on Friday. We had to get the hall ready and then clean up afterwards on Monday.”
As Robertson put it there was no taking a break during the event.
“We each had our own jobs and you didn't work shifts, you worked from three until nine or until we had everything cleaned up at night.”
“We each had our own jobs and we stuck with them over the years. I was the coffee and tea person and I did that for over 25 years.”
One thing the ladies did not do was the dishes, as it was a tradition for the men to do all of the dishes at the fowl supper.
It was not all work and no fun for the Busy Bees, and sometimes stories came out of how the rookies maybe had to be bailed out when it came to making their six pies.
“Pie making would be the biggest thing. These would be young girls, maybe 20, a young bride that just started and maybe never made a pie. We had one say that she just was trying to roll out her crust and I mean this was for six pies, it is not a little job. She got so frustrated she had a ball of dough and she was going to throw it at the wall and a neighbour walked in and helped her make her pies.”
“Another girl had to bake 13 pies to get six good ones. It didn’t take long however for these women to get proficient.”
It was also a very efficient group as there was not much room for the ladies to work in at the hall.
“We had two stoves going and people doing turnips, doing peas and carrots, potatoes. They were mashing and getting everything all ready and everything was always hot.”
It was always a challenge to pull off the Cantuar Busy Bees Fowl supper but they always worked and worked out well.
While the names of the people have changed over the years, the Cantuar Busy Bees continues on and hopefully enough people will become members to help keep the 70-year tradition alive.