3.09.2009

Ode to Susan's Bakery Cottage.

How many times did I walk into that bakery and smell all those heavenly scents?
(Countless)

Since I could walk basically!
Fresh cakes rising in pans in one of the many ovens.

Toothpicks lying on the counter top-from constantly checking the status. She had perfected the art of cake making...that's for sure.

Cakes for 75th anniversaries, cakes for weddings, baby showers, birthdays.


At any event, there was a cake...and 9 times out of 10 it was from Susan's Bakery Cottage.

Susan being my Aunt Susie.
The baby of 7 - my mom being the oldest of 7.
She got to be a part of the most important day in alot of people's lives.

My beautiful Aunt Susie. My favorite aunt. The one that always comments on my weight whether positive or negative. And my acne, whether positive or negative. Who loves me fiercely.

Her in the 70's! This picture is framed and in my house! Love it!

She made the most delicious icing you have ever tasted spinning round and round in one of the three Kitchen Aid mixers. If I had a penny for every time someone walked in and said "Do you sell your icing by itself?" or "I wish they made a candle of how delicious your bakery smells!"



She created my birthday cakes since my very first one - Rainbow Brite, Shirt-Tales, Care-Bears to name a few....same with my children until we moved 10 hours away to Knoxville, TN. I would tell her my vision and she would magically create it. A T-Rex, a bowling ball, and my baby shower cake just to name a few.

Peanut Butter balls, Chocolate Chip Cookies with brownies in the center, Wedding Cakes, Birthday Cakes, Sugar Cookies with a swipe of her famous icing sprinkled with rainbow sprinkles - all placed on silver platters behind the counter.

It was also a gift shop too. Over sized lollipops, Circle E candles, party plates & napkins, balloons, coffee mugs, boxes of tea. At Christmas time, it truly was one of the most beautiful shops in town. She had ten Christmas trees all decorated with a completely different theme.

I would always peek under the white cardboard boxes that were laid out on the glass counter tops awaiting their requester. She never ceased to amaze me with what she could create.

Her hair was always pulled back in a scrunchie, always wet from being fresh from the shower - her apron was white with many different colors of icing smeared across the front - from a days worth of decorating. She was an amazing artist and chef - but really lousy at organization. I was constantly sorting her icing tips, receipts, or files. If I stopped by just for a second to say Hi, or bring her a soda from the Sonic she would always find me something to do.

I haven't been home for over a year and a half. I am going home on Thursday and what breaks my heart is that Susan's Bakery Cottage is no longer. The local community college that was located across the street from her bakery has bought her shop for the land so that they can build a coffee shop/book store for the college. She fought so hard, and for so long to keep it - or at least move to a different location. But in the end she was unsuccessful. She sold all of her pots/pans/recipes/equipment to a lady in a nearby city. It breaks my heart into a million pieces that when I go back to Arkansas to visit next week, that I will no longer walk through the door and stick my finger in a bowl of icing and get my hand swatted.

I was always taking photos, but I never got Aunt Susie in her shop baking a cake, icing a cake, her colorful apron swiped with icing every color of the rainbow or her wet hair.

So take those pictures OK? The ones you don't think you need, or the ones you keep saying you'll get.

aw.

9 people took the time to say:

pakosta said...

you are so right. we never know until something is gone. but hey you have a great description of it!
and the memories.!
hugs!
can't wait for your family to see yOU!
tara

Anonymous said...

Susan's Bakery was the best. Definitely a landmark in the town of El Dorado...Even though they had moved 2+ hours north, my family still made sure that Susan made the birthday cake for my nephew's birthdays.
When I joined the Air Force and missed the comforts of home, my mother sent me a few dozen sugar cookies from Susan's. As much as I wanted to eat every single cookie, I HAD to share them with my friends so they could get a taste of the best cookies ever made.
When a special event came around and it was time to pick up the cake, you couldn't wait to open that white box and just stare at what Susan had created. And once you got that box in your home, the smell was indescribably heaven.
I do feel quite lucky to have something as sweet and delicious as Susan's creations a part of my childhood. She wasn't my aunt but there was magic in everything she made.

Thinkie said...

it's always sad when something that you hold fond memories of ends. fortunately your aunt is still there! maybe you can draw those pictures that are in your head?

Denise said...

great post. great reminder. I could smell the smells, taste the frosting and see her wet hair pulled back in a bun. thanks!

Anonymous said...

you write beautifully. i felt like i was a part of that. and now i must go get a kleenex.
xoxok

Michelle said...

Your post just makes me cry!!! My heart breaks for you.. for the photos you didn't take.. for your Aunt Susan losing her shop. :(

Thanks for sharing Ash!

kristy.lynn said...

i'm right there with you. too many lost opportunities for pictures. i'm sorry you'll miss that part of going home!

but your description is so vivid!

Jessica F said...

i know pictures are worth 1,000 words, but your words just brought such clear and vivid images to mind. capture your words because they too are so valuable. xo

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post! I too have so many memories of walking into Susan's Bakery Cottage. Every cake my sisters and I ever had, including our wedding cakes,came from there. We would even have my mom bring birthday cakes to our children for their birthdays! I have very fond memories of seeing those big white boxes on our kitchen counter. During the holidays my mom would always get several dozen peanut butter balls, iced sugar cookies, brownie cookies, and chocolate mound cookies. I can almost taste it now. I have tried bakeries all over in search of a cake comparable to Susan's... Let me just say.. there is NO comparison!