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An Edible Compass (St Osyth's Priory)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The Museum of East Anglian Life
St Osyth's Priory, Essex
30 July 2011

A community meal and an opportunity to celebrate the culinary delights of East England, An Edible Compass was the inaugural happening of On Landguard Point, a series of large scale events curated by the Pacitti Company around the notion of home, commissioned as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

When I was invited I felt quite nervous. I’m not exactly what you’d call a chef, or a cook or in fact someone who feels comfortable in the kitchen at all, so the idea of going to a BYO Food ‘banquet’ was daunting. But I had nothing to fear. From the beginning of An Edible Compass a smiley Robert Pacitti and his band of friendly volunteers made us all feel welcome (even if the only thing we’d brought was someone else’s cheesecake).

It was a table festooned with the flags of each Olympic nation and one that never ended; but it an experience that was based on who you were sat next to. I was lucky enough for this to be Ian of the Incredible Curry (not his actual name sadly because it’s a wonderfully accurate one), a dapper young gent named Merlin and three lovely equally well heeled ladies. Food was shared and in some cases fought over but always amiably.

Surfing on the back of my snappily dressed neighbours I lived the dream and became a ‘face on camera’ in the film being made by the Pacitti Company to mark On Landguard Point (look out for me, I’m the one in pink trousers and looking slightly panicked). To maintain our neutral faces and not laugh we whispered words to get each other through filming: "Masterchef" and "cupcakes" now carry much more meaning for me.

Lasting a little over two hours it was an eclectic experience and, whilst slightly more intimate than expected, undeniably a celebration with Mexican waves and lots of chatter. At the end to say we departed as friends would be twee, but we definitely didn’t part as strangers; as the human body of the feast, we had all shared something more than just food.

- Honour Bayes


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