Totnes & District

Around the World in 80 bites

There are now 3 Groups running:

Each month in ‘Around the World in 80 Bites’ we meet together in a member’s house bringing food from a particular country, which we have cooked at home . We share this food and also music from the country, members’ memories of a visit, photos and slide presentations or philosophies from that country.

So far we have shared the food and culture from many countries including Japan, India, Spain, Italy, France, USA - New Orleans, Norway and so on. The lunches have been tremendously good fun and also taught us new recipes as we have experimented with ideas from books or the internet. Members sometimes bring food bought in shops if they don’t feel like cooking on that day!!

FOR GROUPS 1 & 3 Contact Helen Barbera 07796511778 or email hcbarbera@hotmail.com

FOR GROUP 2 Contact Angela Holloway or Wendy Green email egreen77@gmail.com

Recent reports from a Group Member:

February 2019

The dishes for February’s “80 Bites around the World” were based on the deep south of the United States of America, the state of Louisiana. The result was a mouth-watering selection of meals such as Gumbos, Jumbalas and a fantastic salad. Seafood is a speciality of Louisiana with prawns featuring in many of the dishes, with or without rice. They certainly gave our taste buds a treat. These meals are always accompanied with discussions and details about the selected countries and everyone explains their dishes before eating commences. February’s session was at the home of Dot and Terry Underhill, who arranged for Cajun music to be piped into the garden to welcome everyone. After eating the weather was so wonderfully warm everyone retired into the garden for coffee or tea and of course peanut cookies. Afterwards everyone toured the garden which was benefiting from the warm weather and freedom of damaging frosts. Just before leaving we looked at a few pictures of Louisiana on a laptop, and were amazed at the size, virtually a third of the current USA , that President Thomas Jefferson purchased from Napoleon in 1803. The Louisiana Purchase was for 53,000,000 acres for 68 million francs ($15 million) equivalent to over $600 Billion today. The purchased area contained land that now comprises 15 present US states and part of two Canadian provinces. It is believed that the non-native population of the Louisiana Purchase was around 60,000 of whom half were African slaves. And why did Napoleon sell it? - he was short of cash to finance putting down a revolt in Saint-Domingue and the prospect of renewed warfare with the United Kingdom. “80 Bites around the world” is not just an excuse to eat well, but to push our culinary skills, enjoy each others company and learn something about the countries selected. I wonder what everyone will provide for next month - Israel?

On Tuesday 22nd January at lunchtime a group of cooks were entertained by Andrea Bocelli with views of Italy while treating their taste buds to a wide range of Italian food. This was the monthly meeting of “80 Bites around the World” study group under the leadership of Helen Cecilia Barbera who was also hosting this month’s event at her home. Members of the group had earlier selected Italy as the country for January, with Louisiana for February and Israel for March. As well as an interesting and tasty range of food, which each cook described, there was a lot of reminiscing of member’s experiences in Italy. Wine, food, music, pictures, information about a country and socialising in a warm, pleasant environment; I cannot think of a much better way to spend a cold and damp winter’s lunchtime.

I felt that I could not let September’s 80 Bites around the World, go by without a simple report, because the effort put in by the members of the group and our host for the meal, Helen ,was outstanding. The dishes were Iranian and all of the most incredible quality. I doubt if there are many people that have had such a spread. But in true U3A spirit it was not just a cooking and eating session based on a country, but very educational. On a large TV screen was a running series of pictures related to Iran, and then after the meal, more pictures and commentary on a visit made by a member in 2007. Our host, as usual, gave us information about the country, there was a lovely poem about one of the country’s specialist crafts; carpet weaving, information about a picture stamped out from a sheet of silver, along with personal anecdotes. If that was not enough our plates, serviettes and place labels were related to Iran, and friendship filtered through everything.

2 When Helen Cecilia Barbera suggested a Totnes U3A Study Group “Around the World in 80 bites” I thought what an interesting idea, but would it work? Well it has worked in a most fantastic way. As the group meets in member’s homes and eat at the dining table the numbers have to be restricted. Each month a country is selected by general consensus, leaving members of the group to research the food and meals of that country, then test their culinary skills. My cooking skills were mainly confined to cooking over camp fires for groups of youngsters in the 1950's so experimenting now is great fun. Meeting others of the group is a lovely social occasion, often combined with anecdotes, information and pictures of the country selected. But best of all is having the opportunity to sample numerous tasty dishes that members have provided - what a treat my taste buds are given each month!. “Around the world in 80 bites” was an imaginative idea that I suspect all the study group’s members would agree has exceeded their expectations. August’s menu will be Lithuania – I can see some experiments being carried out following ideas I find on the Internet.

Terry Underhill - novice cook

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More Group Pages
Around the World in 80 bites Art History
Book Club Book Club 2
Bridge Group Choir
Circle Dancing Computer - one to one help
Digital Photography Discussion Group
Folk Band and Recorders Gardening 1
Gardening 2 Gardening 3
Geology Luncheon Club
Mahjong Mindfulness
Music Appreciation Natural History
Play Reading Psychology
Scrabble Table Tennis
Walking Women
Yoga