I went on UEA Garlic Bread Society’s first social and it was fab
‘Late attendees informed us that the smell of garlic had now diffused the whole street.’
I attended the Garlic Bread Society’s inaugural social with a mixture of expectations and emotions, much like the mixture of garlic, bread and butter that creates the culinary phenomenon. I was full of questions that needed answering: what kind of person or people would create a Garlic Bread Society? And more to the point, who would attend?
Arriving a fashionable fifteen minutes late, I still managed to be the first to show and was welcomed by a bemused Ellie Bokor-Ingram, President and mastermind behind the GBS. It turns out that the idea had been devised at a rugby pre’s and snowballed from a joke to a group chat to reality.
I’d brought along some Tesco Value garlic flatbreads (classy), which we added to the already sizeable pile in the kitchen. As the rest of the attendees dribbled in in ones and twos, the amount of garlic bread in the house grew to truly ludicrous proportions. Homemade knotted garlic bread worthy of Bake Off, vegan garlic bread, cheesy garlic bread, garlic bread with sundried tomatoes – if it was doughy and garlicky, it made an appearance.
The lure of a delicious and sociable dinner with absolutely zero danger of a vampire attack had attracted a wide range of participants. Two exchange students from New Zealand, the aforementioned vegan party, a fair few rugby girls, and even local celebrities Toby and Ice the Akita (@icetheakita on Instagram, it’s a great account) all showed and shared the garlicky love. The biggest cheer of the night arose when the New Zealanders revealed that they had been given the choice between UEA and Essex and had, of COURSE, chosen Norfolk’s finest.
After an icebreaker that required your name, course, and favourite thing about garlic bread (notable answers included crispiness, chewiness and its ability to bring people together) conversation turned to the creation of the GBS. Absolutely shockingly, it was the only new society this year not to be accepted automatically by the Union Council – a decision that can only be described as outrageous. Thankfully, Ellie and Union Council rep India Gilmore stood in front of the Council of Elders and give an impassioned speech in defence of its right to exist. In my head, it played out a lot like the speech in Gladiator.
HISTORY LESSON: Garlic bread dates back to at least 500BC, and probably much earlier, when it was often used by scholars as a midnight snack.
As the night wore on, and more and more garlic bread was consumed, late attendees informed us that the smell of garlic has now diffused the whole street. To be absolutely honest, there was definitely a point where I stopped enjoying the sheer volume being eaten and began to power through just because…well, it’s the Garlic Bread Society.
The conversation turned to what was next for the GBS and it immediately became clear that big things were afoot. Feeding the homeless with Pasta Soc, a World Record attempt, and possibly some sort of Dodgeball-like bread-throwing tournament (OK I made that last one up), the GBS is one to watch.
Later in the night, the topics of chatter became weird, dark and disturbing (mostly because of the Kiwis to be honest). Horrific Bee Movie fanfiction, bestiality and incest were all brought to the table, in a development that appeared to confuse the GBS hosts as much as it did me.
I departed at half nine with a belly full of bread, a warm heart, but absolutely no hope of pulling in the LCR. According to my dad, I still smelt of garlic at 1pm the next day.