Lancaster Bakery

Thank You, Come Back to See Us

Non-Fiction - Cooking/Food
118 Pages
Reviewed on 09/02/2021
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    Book Review

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.

Trudi LoPreto

Lancaster Bakery: Thank You, Come Back to See Us had me wishing for the good old days and the corner bakery. Anita Hinson Cauthen shares the stories of her family - grandparents, parents, sister, brother, and uncle - as she grew up in Lancaster, South Carolina. Anita had a twin sister, Rita, who had epilepsy when there was no medicine or cure. Anita’s family owned the Lancaster Bakery. She tells us in great detail how the whole family had to work hard to keep it going and later add a catering department requiring even more work, time, and people. Anita broke the experience down into the seasons, reminiscing about the joys of childhood in winter, summer, fall, and spring, bringing back so many happy memories of my own 1950s-60s childhood.

Anita also shared many of the recipes of the Lancaster Bakery, and I am keen to try several of them very soon. They include cakes, cupcakes, cookies, donuts, pastry, buns, and more. First on my list to bake will be chocolate sandwich cookies followed by yellow layer cake with buttercream icing. Not being much of a baker, I will work on the danish and pastry recipes later as well. I enjoyed the nostalgic memories, the recipes, the old-fashioned togetherness of a caring family as I read Lancaster Bakery. Anita Hinson Cauthen did an excellent job of combining her life and the bakery into a well-written and informative book. Lancaster Bakery: Thank You, Come Back to See Us is a must-read for all baking lovers and for all who enjoy an authentic look back into the “golden days.”

Michael Gardner

As a child, I had a sweet tooth. It led me down the road to learning to bake and consequently to a love of cooking in general. So for me, Lancaster Bakery by Anita Hinson Cauthen was a nostalgic read on several levels. Part cookbook, part memoir, Lancaster Bakery cooks up the delicious cakes, biscuits, and pastries sold in Anita’s family bakery in Lancaster, South Carolina. Organized by the seasons, each section of the book shares Anita’s memories of childhood, particularly those with her twin sister, their experiences growing up in the family bakery, and recipes for the treats served throughout the year. If you’ll pardon the intentional currant bun, it deserves the status of a coffee table book more than being a cookbook. Lancaster Bakery is beautifully presented, with easy-to-follow recipes, stunning black-and-white photography, and carefully considered, endearing stories about childhood. These aren’t sugar-coated memories either, and many will get readers in the emotional breadbasket.

I don’t have as much of a sweet tooth as when I was young. However, I’m still a sucker for Coconut Macaroon Cookies. Hence, as part of this review, I cooked up a batch from the recipe in Lancaster Bakery and took them to work for a shared morning tea. That felt true to the book’s spirit, which highlights the joy of preparing and sharing food that puts a smile on people’s faces. The Macaroons didn’t last long, so I’ll just have to bake another batch. Sometimes it’s a tough job being a reviewer, and Anita Hinson Cauthen has made it even more worthwhile!

Sue Honeycutt

I loved the Lancaster Bakery and the family. I am trying some of my favorites. Anita, I thank you for sharing your memories and recipes.