Pakenham WI News - April 2020

Pakenham WI

Friday 17th of April marks the 10th anniversary of when myself, and 8 Pakenham WI girls took a fantastic English tea to the residents of Fort Worth, Texas.

This amazing adventure which lasted a week was funded personally, and with the help of major British companies including Waitrose, Yorkshire Tea, Tate and Lyle, Tiptree Jams and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines we managed to transport ourselves and the ingredients across the Atlantic.  This caused numerous raised eyebrows and chaos from Dallas airport customs officials as we imported enough Waitrose sliced bread to feed an army, not to mention suspect items such as baking powder and vanilla essence. So funny !!!! Fortunately the flour, sugar, jam etc. had been shipped over by air cargo ahead of us.

We became overnight TV and media stars on both sides of the pond not only because of the event, but that we were stranded in the USA due to the Icelandic Volcanic eruption which occurred as we were en-route. It could only happen to Pakenham WI. !!!

We were billeted in many homes in Fort Worth, enjoying the most amazing hospitality and sumptuous different daily evening dinner venues. We spent the days prior to the event food shopping and then cooking in a fabulous commercial kitchen.

We served the fabulous typically English tea taken from The Ritz afternoon tea menu to over 100 residents of Trinity Parish Fort Worth. We relived the entire event on US TV later that evening.

We were one of the first flights to leave the US after the fly zone ban over Iceland was lifted, well 7 of us were, where baggage remained at Dallas due to passenger overloading. Janet and I, and our baggage were diverted through Frankfurt and London City, and amazingly we all arrived intact.

I re released the book An English Tea in Texas this morning on the Pakenham Facebook page. Taken from my daily blog on websites in both countries it tells the incredible story as it unfolded in pictures and gives the recipes we used. The adventure led to invitations to appear on The Hairy Bikers Christmas show and joining Sophie Dahl to make the BBC2 documentary of The Marvellous Mrs Beeton.

In these uncertain and scary times it is so wonderful to look back and celebrate this experience, and to know that the future holds many more for all of us.

Mary. XX

See Pakenham WI Texas News 2010 for day to day events as they unfolded.

Pakenham WI Texas News 2010

WI 10th Anniversary of Tea Time in Texas