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 !