Longton Exchange is bringing the past into the present with the launch of National Lobby Week, which aims to bring a classic, local dish to Longton.
From Monday, 22nd of January, until Saturday 27th of January, Longton Exchange will be serving up a hearty helping of free Lobby, a traditional Stoke-On-Trent and Staffordshire dish deeply rooted in the region’s culinary heritage. In partnership with Steve’s Butchers and MAW Fruit & Veg, this gesture of community spirit aims to provide a comforting meal for shoppers at Longton Exchange.
Lobby, a rich and flavourful stew, stands as a testament to Stoke-On-Trent and Staffordshire’s community’s resourcefulness and resilience. Originating during the Industrial Revolution, Lobby was a staple dish for low-income potters, offering a nourishing and affordable meal amidst challenging times.
Described by food historian, Maurice Hassell, as “a nutritious economic meal made with seasonal vegetables,” the stew is made from a variety of simple yet wholesome ingredients, reflecting the community’s ingenuity and resolve. These include minced or diced beef or lamb, diced potatoes, onions, carrots, leeks, and root vegetables, bulked up with pearl barley.
According to the Autumn Statement from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, food insecurity – defined as reducing meals, skipping meals or going hungry in the previous 30 days – has risen from 5.2 million households in May 2022 to 5.9 million households in October 2023. These statistics show that the issue is escalating, giving extra impetus to National Lobby Week.
Chris Ward, Centre Manager of Longton Exchange, is excited about the launch of National Lobby Week, stating: “We are passionate about supporting our local community, and this initiative truly embodies that commitment. Creating a National Lobby Week is something that we feel creates conversation as everyone makes their Lobby a little differently. We want to also demonstrate how easy and cost-effective it is to make a good hearty meal perfect during those winter months.
Longton Exchange is further extending its support by setting up a gazebo in the main mall area. This interactive hub will offer free lobby and recipe cards.
Establishing National Lobby Week is a testament to Longton Exchange’s dedication to fostering community spirit and celebrating the rich heritage of Stoke-On-Trent and Staffordshire. By embracing the tradition of Lobby, Longton Exchange is not only providing a warm meal but also reinforcing the values of community, resilience, and resourcefulness that define the region.
Read more about the foundation of National Lobby Week at Longton Exchange on the centre’s website: https://www.longtonexchange.co.uk/blog/