Reading Town Meal

16 Oct

Another weekend of eating but not cooking, basking in early October sunshine I spent a lovely afternoon in Readings Forbury Gardens and the first Reading Town Meal. The meal was the brain child of  Food4Families who work with schools and families across the borough to create a network of food growing spaces.

Bringing together allotment-holders, gardeners and producers with catering students from Reading College who prepared and cooked the meal the afternoon saw around 1000 meals served to a crowd who also enjoyed live music, cookery demonstrations and a host of other things in the glorious sunshine. The weather brought the community out in force, but the organisation went really smoothly and soon people were spreading out on the grass to enjoy the food.

A zingily dressed mixed salad with beetroot and some borlotti beans which were an interesting and welcome addition. The main was a mild curry which contained lots of squashes , impressive as it hasn’t been a particularly good year for growing them.

The service was staggered so those who ate early had time to look around the stalls or watch a demonstration like I did, picking up a nifty recipe for partridge, although I think it would work with other meats. Pudding was a Canterbury Tart, making the most of this years bumper crop of apples.

I found it a little too sharp for my liking, but that’s probably personal taste and when you take into consideration the huge amount of work involved in putting together the event it was really a minor quibble, and it didn’t stop me eating all of it. The sunshine helped create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and despite the fact that I was in the minority coming on my own I felt perfectly at home. I thought the town meal was a great event, really well organised and an inspiring model of what can be achieved across a town like Reading. All in all it was a tasty and inspiring afternoon.

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