Taste of wartime Britain as culinary stars gather for Northampton food festival
Visitors to this weekend's Northampton Winter Food Festival will be able to enjoy a taste from wartime Britain.
The team from Elsie’s Café in Northampton will be cooking up Woolton pie, perhaps the most famous dish in households during World War Two.
The pie was the creation of Lord Woolton, the Minster of Food during the war who needed a frugal, staple to keep the country fed.
It was made from potato, carrots, cauliflower and parsnip, covered with an unusual potato pastry crust and served with brown gravy.
All the ingredients were freely available as they could be grown at home and Lord Woolton was often pictured eating it.
Elsie’s Café will be making the pie in order to showcase their work saving food waste – all the ingredients will have been rescued from being thrown away.
Lord Woolton is also the subject of Masterchef judge William Sitwell’s latest book ‘Eggs of Anarchy’ and he will be at the festival to talk about the show and his book.
Food writer and critic William, who lives in Weston, said: “Woolton pie was a fixture on the dinner tables in wartime Britain. It will be fascinating to see what people make of it today.
“Winston Churchill is said to have hated it, but it was undoubtedly one of the ways, along with rationing, that Lord Woolton stopped Britain from starving.”
Shena Cooper, from The Real Junk Food Project which is behind Elsie’s Café, said: "In the last 65 years we have moved from making good use of every scrap of food to a place where we waste over half of what is grown.
“This festival showcases the wonderful variety of food we now have access to, but it is also an opportunity to see the love and energy that goes into its production and, hopefully, that encourages us not to waste it."
Sitwell is part of a line-up at the festival which includes Paris House chef Phil Fanning, Bake Off legend Howard Middleton and Master chef semi-finalist Jen Charlton.
Festival organiser Crispin Slee said: “The festival promised to be a great event and we’re delighted to help promote the work of Elsie’s Café. The volunteers there do an amazing job.”
Northampton Winter Food Festival takes place at The County Cricket Ground in Abington Avenue, Northampton, on Saturday November 12 and Sunday November 13.
It is a celebration of artisan produce with more than 80 food and drink stalls, gifts, a street food market, chef demonstrations, cookery classes for kids, tasting workshops and foodie talks with free samples.
There will be free parking in Abington Park. Adult tickets are £6 in advance or £8 on the day. Children over ten years are £3. Children under ten are free.
Elsie’s Café and William Sitwell will be at the festival on Saturday afternoon only.