"What more do you want? Jam on it?" This is a phrase I recall hearing from my Aunty Mimi when I was a small girl whenever something was not to my satisfaction! Were she here now I could tell her in response, "Well, actually, there is jam in it, on it and throughout it." And it is the WI.
Last week saw the long anticipated launch of the WI's own food brand with three flavours of jam; raspberry, strawberry and blackcurrant; five types of biscuit; ginger, shortbread, chocolate, oat and Shrewsbury; and two pickles; spicy tomato and sweet onion. Plain, self-raising, wholemeal and strong white bread flours will follow shortly in the list. Launched at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham, the stand did a very brisk trade with plenty of interest from intrigued buyers. At the moment the jams, pickles and biscuits are available on line at www.WIfoods.co.uk and in the spring they will on sale be in delicatessens, farm shops, corner and village shops and the like. Do have a look on line – there is a discount for WI members.
The jam label has been stuck to WI members for many a year so, of course, we wear it with pride. So much so that we now have what has become an annual WI Real Jam Festival at our own college in Oxford – Denman College – in the Georgian house that used to be known as Marcham Park, and was given the name of Denman after our first National Chairman; Lady Gertrude Denman.That aside, it was a natural and logical step to have WI jam on the market, which is as near to homemade as possible for a product that has to be mass produced. All of the items sport the strap line "Food is our heritage"; what more could we want? Jam on it? I'm satisfied! So much so, the WI has presented Her Majesty the Queen with a selection of jams and biscuits.
I mentioned Denman College above, well as you might know this is also the location of the WI Cookery School. I heard the actress Rachel Weisz saying on Monday that her next project was to learn to cook. The WI would be delighted to give lessons – from basic baking to cordon bleu expertise. Do give the WI a try Miss Weisz!