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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / State & Local / Midwest
  • Language:English
  • Pages:500
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667882017

How Our Hearts Were Stollen

A Partial History of St. Louis Bakeries

by Rich Gaynor

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"HOW OUR HEARTS WERE STOLLEN: A Partial History of St. Louis Bakeries" is a Local Interest book that gives a picture of St. Louis and its independent bakeries from the early 1900's to the present. There were two important main themes of this book. The author attempted a search to find out the answers to two important questions. One, "Were the relationships among the bakers of St. Louis as close-knit and cooperative as they had been rumored to be ?" When this question was proposed to the bakers themselves in the 25 In-Person Interviews, the answer to this question was emphatically, "Yes, absolutely !" The author discovered that there were structures that supported and encouraged this closeness among the bakers. And so, this was revealed in the author's search of 50 Years of Monthly Bulletins from the St. Louis Master Bakers Association. The author discovered that the bakers often socialized with one another in many activities sponsored by the Bakers Association, activities such as the Bakers Men's Singing Society as well as the Bakers Women's Singing Society. As a result of many activities like the Christmas parties for their families, dances, and annual get-away trips to the Lake of the Ozarks, the bakers would often work in one another's stores, share supplies, inter-marry, and even become godparents for one another's children. They even shared their recipes with one another and maintained friendly relationships with one another that were not competitive. All of these things were confirmed by the bakers in the 25 In-Person Interviews. There was a second question that was posed to the bakers, "What were the causes that resulted in the downfall of the Independent Bakeries during the mid-1900's ?" The bakers themselves seemed to have very ready answers to this question. Some of their answers suggested the introduction of boxed cake mixes, ready-made brown and serve rolls, and the entrance of supermarkets with their own in-store bakeries.
"HOW OUR HEARTS WERE STOLLEN: A Partial History of St. Louis Bakeries" is a Local Interest book that gives a picture of St. Louis and its independent bakeries from the early 1900's to the present. This book has several major themes that are discussed and confirmed by two primary sources: First, samplings from the archive of 50 Years of Monthly Bulletins from the St. Louis Master Bakers Association. And second, 25 In-Person Interviews with current and past St. Louis bakers. These interviews were recorded and then transcribed, and are now readable within the book itself. The 50 Years of Monthly Bulletins are delightful sources that were edited by an interesting person who freely shares his quirky and folksy opinions. But, he is also an editor who creates a charming window into the world of the mid to late 1900's in St. Louis. The 25 In-Person Interviews were all one to two hour long conversation performed by the author who later was able to edit them down to a reasonable length preserving the most essential sections of the dialogue. Each of these interviews were unique to the baker and the individual bakery. Yet, all of them contained many similarities. Every baker interviewed had the same kind of personal pride in their bakery, in the high quality and loyalty of their workers, and in the personal relationships that they had with their customers. The central discovery of the author was of a community of bakers that shared their lives and their families as a "family of families !" This entire "Bakery Book Project" took over 10 years to complete and was every bit a labor of love for the author. He would be completely fulfilled in this project if he knew that the readers of this book enjoyed meeting the bakers and their bakeries as much as he did !
About the author
Rich Gaynor is a native of St. Louis who grew up with his German grandparents who introduced him to the pleasures of coffee and cakes. These early experiences sent him on a ten-year quest to discover the lives, motivations, and relationships of the independent bakers of St. Louis. As a young child he grew up in a multi-generational home where baking was a family involvement all year long. At a very young age his father became a professional baker, making pies all day at a lumber camp in Canada. As a young adult his father moved on to Toronto to work in a bakery, and then later moved to St. Louis where he worked in several prestigious restaurants. In addition to all of these employments his father became a pure foods advocate and eventually owned his own independent grocery store. Rich Gaynor was greatly formed by the examples of both of his grandparents. From his grandfather he learned the comforts of early morning church-going and the bakery link to Eucharist from daily after-church visits to a local bakery. He was also influenced towards sweets and coffee by his maternal grandmother who taught him some of her own baking secrets . He has never lost his sweet-tooth and his appreciation for bakers who do the hard work of baking each and every morning. During his research he discovered some very revealing historical events that contributed to the demise of the independent bakery during the 1950's. He also discovered the amazing presence of a bakery community in St. Louis during the 1900's, a community that had qualities of kindness, support, and care amongst the bakers. These are some of the themes that are central to his book, HOW OUR HEARTS WERE STOLLEN: A Partial History of St. Louis Bakeries. This book contains over 400 pages of primary source material that documents both of these themes, along with fascinating side topics such as "Who Really Created the St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake ?" and ""What Made the Lindy's New York Style Cheesecake the Best of All Cheesecakes ?" The two main primary sources for his research were: 1.) Fifty Years of Monthly Bulletins from the St. Louis Bakers Association and 2.) Twenty-Five In-Person Interviews with Current and Past St. Louis Bakers. This book also includes an Appendix that gives Historic Locations of St. Louis Bakeries, A List of Signature Items from the Bakeries of the Interviewed Bakers, Some Important Recipes From the Bakery Bulletins, and a List of Major Business Statistics for U.S. Bakeries from the Years 1849 to 1946. This book includes many photographs appropriate and relevant to each of the Interviewed Bakeries. This book was intentionally written to be highly entertaining and with an unapologetic bias towards bakers ! Several of the interviewed bakers interviewed asked me, "Why are you writing this book on bakeries ?" My answer was an easy one, "Because I love bakery goods !" So, if YOU love bakery goods, You Will Love This Book !

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