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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Lancaster Bakery: Thank You, Come Back to See Us is a work of memoir non-fiction by author Anita Hinson Cauthen. Ernest Nebraska Courtney, Lancaster Bakery’s founder, repeated on his deathbed what he always called out to customers as they left the bakery with their current purchases. The Lancaster Bakery was his life: the life of the entire family. Opened in a small southern town in 1939, the bakery served the community for decades until it finally closed its doors in the early 1980s. The bakery’s legacy in the community was
fond sweet memories in a bygone era where small businesses thrived.
Anita Hinson Cauthen’s book, Lancaster Bakery is her memoir of growing up in a small southern town during the 1950s and 1960s. Her grandfather started the bakery, her father who kept it thriving, and her brother, Donald, learned the trade along with Anita’s epileptic twin sister, Rita. But times changed, and the small community that once supported the bakery was dwindling as other businesses closed their doors. As the older generation of the bakery family became ill and passed away, Anita and Donald made the difficult decision to close the bakery. Armored with a lifetime of memories, yellowed index cards with cherished and customer favorite recipes, and lots of photographs, Anita has brought her family’s bakery back to life through the art of storytelling and the sharing of the good recipes that made the bakery prosper. However, this is more than a look at the bakery’s history as it includes local history, complex topics like segregation, and the many different illnesses inflicted upon the family. For example, Anita’s twin sister, Rita, had epilepsy and was stigmatized for her ailments for most of her short life (which sadly ended at 15). The bakery’s story is heartwarmingly told, tender and compassionate. The recipes that made it famous and the photographs that illustrate it make this a book to cherish.