Yuna CWA finds the recipes for success

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Yuna CWA ladies and those that contributed to the books with the new cookbooks.
Camera IconYuna CWA ladies and those that contributed to the books with the new cookbooks. Credit: Justine Rowe

Time spent at home during last year’s COVID-19 lockdown in WA has inspired a group of Mid West ladies to put pen to paper and create their own cookbook.

Yuna CWA officially launched the 200-page hard-cover book this month after nearly eight months of collecting and sorting through hundreds of recipes to pick the creme de la creme.

The book features several sections and hundreds of recipes and pictures by women involved in the 89-year-old CWA branch 480km north-east of Perth during the past three years.

Yuna CWA president Belinda Eastough with the new cookbook.
Camera IconYuna CWA president Belinda Eastough with the new cookbook. Credit: Justine Rowe/Justine Rowe

Yuna CWA president Belinda Eastough said she was “ecstatic” with the finished product.

“It almost became a bit of an obsession, everyone wanted to contribute,” she laughed.

“The book exceeded all expectations in terms of quality ... it was an amalgamation of everyone’s ideas and it really depicts our life at Yuna.

“It also reflects our current eating habits and the style of food we cook.

“We appreciate the community support and the effort members went to to make it happen.”

Yuna CWA ladies and those that contributed to the books with the new cookbooks.
Camera IconYuna CWA ladies and those that contributed to the books with the new cookbooks. Credit: Justine Rowe

One of the group’s youngest members — secretary Jess Perrin — suggested it as a way to record recipes for the amazing food she had tasted at CWA events.

But Ms Eastough said the project didn’t get going until the Yuna CWA members found themselves cooking “more and more” during last year’s lengthy coronavirus lockdown.

“Jess said she went to so many CWA events with so much good food, but there were no recipes for the food readily available,” Ms Eastough said.

“Then we ended up in lockdown and started to grow gardens and nurture sourdough starters, and we were all cooking meals from scratch.

“The lockdown gave us the time to start planning the book.”

Yuna CWA ladies with the new cookbooks.
Camera IconYuna CWA ladies with the new cookbooks. Credit: Justine Rowe/Justine Rowe

Yuna CWA’s main committee collected the recipes, including Ms Eastough and Ms Perrin, as well as vice-president Kirrilee Warr and secretary Nicole Batten.

They put the call out for recipes among the group’s 2019 and 2020 members and quickly found themselves with more than 300 recipes and a big job ahead.

Yuna CWA member Jasmyn Allen organised a golden oldies section which includes recipes from the original Yuna CWA cookbooks, published in 1971 and 2002.

She said some of the favourites included in the sections were Joan Cant’s sweet custard (include butter, before it comes off the stove), as well as lemon butter and jelly cakes.

“It was an absolute pleasure to put together. I went through the last two cookbooks and pulled out some history from those to include,” Ms Allen said.

“It allowed me to spend some time with the older members still alive and record some of their stories.”

Jasmyn Allen, of Yuna, CWA Binnu Ajana secretary Betty Ford and CWA Binnu Ajana treasurer Jenny Harris.
Camera IconJasmyn Allen, of Yuna, CWA Binnu Ajana secretary Betty Ford and CWA Binnu Ajana treasurer Jenny Harris. Credit: Justine Rowe

Local farmers Brenda Williamson and Sarah Creasy put the book together — culling recipes, sorting the hundreds of photographs, and adding helpful and quirky notes.

The final edit was done by another local farmer, Liz Burton, who checked the spelling, recipes and pictures before it was printed through online platform Create a Cookbook.

Ms Eastough said a big focus of the book was to update old recipes and reflect the way families’ eating styles had changed.

Alicia Pawelski,Erin Green, Kristen Warr
Camera IconAlicia Pawelski,Erin Green, Kristen Warr Credit: Justine Rowe

She joked the Yuna CWA version did not include some of the original book staples like sheep’s head brawn, sheep’s tongue, boiled cucumber, and marrow jam.

The book’s sections include main meals, from the patch, sourdough, soups, golden oldies, sides and salads, and biscuits and cakes, all dotted with pictures of the meals and the CWA ladies’ lives during seeding and harvest.

Jess Perrin, Jayne Vlahov, Kerry Grove, Sarah Creasy, and Susanne Warr, all of Yuna.
Camera IconJess Perrin, Jayne Vlahov, Kerry Grove, Sarah Creasy, and Susanne Warr, all of Yuna. Credit: Justine Rowe

One of the favourite sections is the ‘esky section’, filled with seeding and harvest favourites.

“We always cook during seeding, we have really big seeding programs where we can cook enough food for six weeks,” Ms Eastough said.

“The book includes a lot of easy-to-freeze recipes like mock chicken, and small bites like pin wheels and pizza slices,” Ms Eastough said.

The first print run of 300 books was relatively small, and all of the books have sold out, but the cookbook can be borrowed from the Yuna and Nabawa Libraries.

“We didn’t make any money out of it, we only printed 300 copies because it was quite expensive to print,” she said.

“We did this as a COVID project while we couldn’t have our normal meetings.

“It became almost an obsession and everyone wanted to contribute.”

Yuna CWA will celebrate 90 years in 2022.

Yuna CWA secretary Nicole Batten, and Pam and Peter Batten, of Geraldton.
Camera IconYuna CWA secretary Nicole Batten, and Pam and Peter Batten, of Geraldton. Credit: Justine Rowe

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