What a Day!

Well! What a day we had yesterday in Redhill, handing our free lunch in the town centre at our Lunch Table, spreading the ethos and word about Casserole to anyone and everyone willing to chat and eat with us.

Waking up to tempestuous winds and icy droplets of rain falling from the sky, we bundled up our Casserole gear and headed to Redhill – not even this weather was going to keep us from our mission! We’d barely arrived when the guys from Furnistore rocked up with our borrowed dining sets for the day. Lucky for us, there is a big covered area in Redhill, so we shuffled the tables under some shelter and started to set up shop.

Setting up began after the delivery of our furniture from Furnistore!

We’d barely set our chairs down when Chris from Chalk Hills Bakery turned up with two of the most lovely bags of freshly baked bread you’ve ever seen!

The Bread Man himself! Chris from Chalk Hills Bakery delivering our wonderful bread

With our tables set and our bread arrived, we could start to create a bit of ambiance, adding in a splash of gingham and a few Casserole leaflets for good measure.

The last piece of the puzzle was the food, cooked and served up by Munch in Marylebone, who soon arrived with colourful salads galore!

Naomi from Munch sets out the salad spread

With everything in place, it was time to start serving! We’d been getting some funny looks all throughout our set up – after all, who wouldn’t stare at a group of people setting up a picnic dining area in the middle of a town centre…. in the pouring rain no less!

Wouldn't you do a double take if you saw this set up in your town square?

We soon had the curious, the bemused, and the hungry stopping by to see what all the hullabaloo was about, and enjoy some tasty lunch, while finding out who on earth would be crazy enough to give out free lunch to anyone and everyone, especially in this weather…

We were chuffed to have several people recognise the Casserole name, with plenty more telling us stories about how they cook and share food already, and would be interested in a project like this. We met Ron, a man who used to do the cooking for his army troop of 100 men in World War II and still makes an “army casserole” every week, Roy, who runs a youth project in Merstham where one of their activities is food growing (we are excited to see where that link might go!), and several others who live right around the corner from existing Casserole members!

Digging into the feast!

 Our goal for the day had been to serve 50 meals and speak to as many people as we could. Over the course of lunchtime, we ended up serving well over 75 meals for hungry passersby, and chatted to even more about the project. The Surrey Mirror picked up the story as well, sending down a photographer and reporter to cover the Lunch Table and write a little feature about Casserole (you’ll be able to see the story in next week’s paper!).

Most had a really positive response to Casserole, and many were asking when the next Lunch Table might be…ideally with nicer weather next time. By 2pm, our friends at Furnistore were back to collect their tables and our experiment in disrupting the daily lives of Redhill citizens with some nice free food was complete.

Once again, we have to thank Furnistore and Chalk Hills Bakery for their wonderful contributions, and Munch in Marylebone for making such a delicious lunch spread!

And finally, the best bit of the whole day? We hadn’t even crossed Tower Bridge on our drive back when we had a new Cook signed up!

If you missed us yesterday, don’t forget that we’ll be at Redhill Library tomorrow morning for a food themed Rhyme Time, so stop on by and say hello!