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My Blog

Bakeries...No Longer the HOT item

Good morning to everyone.  Another weekend passed.  How quickly those weekends go.  Well, today looks promising here In the Chicago land area.  Hopefully we will be in the 60's.  What a change from just a couple of days a go..  I have a few quick errands to run and then it will be clean up time and preparations for another Red Hat event.  It is a small gathering this time, but still will be fun.  We will be making unusual cards using a mixed media.  I will provide some Deco Art paints, their Deco Paige which by the way is awesome and some photos, stamps, trims, stones, and anything I can pull out for the girls to create with.  What an awesome project.  We are doing Pot luck..so I am hoping that we get some real food and not all desserts.  With 4 people...you never know.
Well, on to today's blog.  I thought that it would be about bakeries.  It seems that in todays world bakeries are becoming a rare find.  I know that we can get bakery goods at the local grocery stores, Costco's and Sam's Club, but where have all the bakeries gone?
When I was a child, we would go to the bakery a few times a week.  I remember the amazing rolls that were still warm when we brought them home.  And then there were the coffee cakes.  I know that we can purchase coffee cakes at the local grocers, but they do not, on any level compare to a coffee cake or sweet roll that came from a bakery.  I remember my Aunt coming every Wednesday to visit my Grandmother and it was a day that we looked forward to, because on her way over, she would stop at Reuters bakery on Grand Ave in Chicago. It has been running for 80 years now.      We would have lunch meat from the small local grocery store on Laramie Ave.  There was nothing better that a sandwich on those rolls. 
Recently, at a Salvation Army event, someone brought in a coffee cake from Reuters...I was surprised to hear that they were still in business, since so many of the small bakeries have closed. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed every morsel that passed my lips.  It immediately took me back in time. 
On another occasion, a friend brought over some sweet rolls from a bakery that she lives by in Norridge.  Once again, my taste buds were happy with the taste of a delectable apple sweet roll. 
I am sure it is no longer feasible, financially to keep a small bakery open because of the large stores, but oh what this generation is missing. 
I lost both of the bakeries near where I live.  I used to have Gladstone bakery not that far away.  That bakery made everyone of my cakes.  From the time my children were Christened right up to a wedding shower cake.  They were phenomenal when it came to unusual cake designs and shapes.  Both of my daughters christening cakes were made to look like bassinets.  Their first birthday cakes were sprayed in beautiful colors with clowns and the old type ice cream cone with marshmallow tops adorned it. Whenever I needed bread tinted in various pastel colors for layered sandwich loaves, I always knew where to go.  It wasn't just the decorating or the ability to make the items that were different, but also the taste of the baked goods were so different. 
Another bakery near my home was Heidi's bakery and they made the most delicious Almond Custard coffee cake.  I knew it would always impress anyone who I served it to.  But alas, I no longer have them here to go to.  They have closed up.  I cannot help but wonder why.  Has our generation become too impatient to go to a bakery?  I know that the costs of purchasing a cake at a local store is much less than those purchased at a bakery...but they come no where near in taste.  Are we really ready to give up the flavors?  I also think that the bakery items purchased at the local stores also have so many preservatives in them that they last so much longer.  The shelf life is evidently good, but what about all those preservatives that are being ingested? 
I recall a time when having a bread machine was all the rage.  The last time I walked down the aisle at the local thrift store...these machine were lined up, one after another.  Seems that even that craze was short lived. 
I am sad to say that there is no longer such a demand for good breads and cakes .  At least there are less and less places to purchase the goods. 
I am thinking that it is our duty as someone of the older generation to educate the young about how good those pastries and bread and buns really can be.  
I also know that it is regional.  I was amazed years ago when visiting my mother in Reno, that I couldn't find any bakeries.  It was her birthday and I wanted to order a cake from a bakery and couldn't find any.  When questioned about it, my mom told me that there was really no need for one, since you could go to the Casino's restaurants with their amazing buffets and get almost any type of dessert needed. 
When I visited my daughter in South Carolina...come on...the SOUTH...I could only find a tiny little one with very little there!   When I watch all these television programs I see all these shows that showcase wedding cakes and cupcakes...but you don't seem to find any of the everyday type baked goods.  I for one, would like to see them come back...but I am realistic and realize that the day of the neighborhood bakeries are long gone.  How very sad.  Well, it won't stop me from making my own just like my grandmother did.    .   

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