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Monday, February 17, 2014

So....snow....weary!!!!!!

Hey....how ARE you?? The reason I ask....I have had more conversations, the last few days, about erratic emotions and behavior and I am just wondering if you are experiencing it, too??

Even if you haven't been experiencing it....I am sure you have noticed it...it's the weather!!

This Winter has been emotionally, physically, monetarily and mentally exhausting. Eventually....even the sweetest, most calm, people you know are going to crack!! Between the relentless snowstorms, the constant bitter cold and the grey, dreary overcast days...we are all on the brink!!!

I am trying to look on the bright side of things....but it is NOT an easy thing to do.

We are located in a small town...full of history and charm....and SNOW!! It is piling up, everywhere.....and I mean everywhere!!! The only way to deal with it...is to scoop it up and cart it away. We have had storm after storm...and, at least out in front of OUR place, they have only done this removal....ONCE!!!! We have tried to keep, at least, one or two areas open for our customers to get from the street to the sidewalk...but they keep plowing them closed. We have spent a small fortune keeping our parking lot plowed (and it's getting harder and harder to write those checks....because the plow operator is a rude so-and-so......) and salting our sidewalks....but the alleys you need to use to GET to our parking lot...are AWFUL!!!! Main Street, itself, is, actually, dangerous...the road is "shrinking" and it's a very tight squeeze for two cars to pass each other....and if a truck is coming (and it probably is...it is a MAIN road!!!!!) you, almost, want to close your eyes and hope for the best!!!!

I know....and understand...what a nightmare this is for road crews. My husband was a landscaper for years....and this is what they "do" in the winter months. Many, many, many snowy....CRAZY snowy.....hours we (the kids and I...) were alone to deal with whatever came our way while my husband was plowing. I am not asking for a miracle....just some snow removal!!

This last storm battered everyone's Valentine's Day celebrations. The newspaper headlines talked about the florists and the jewelry stores....but the restaurants, card shops, candy stores and small retailers ALL took a hit!!

We are very lucky. We have AMAZING customers who come and visit us....no matter what...which was very evident by the number of people dining...the shopping that was going on....and all of those white bakery boxes heading out the door!! Thank goodness (and thank you!!...you all know who you are!!!) Did we take a "hit"....of course we did...but we will be OK. I am not so sure that is the case for everybody. There are a lot of small businesses that are struggling, right now, and I am not sure they will be able to make it through this.

All throughout this Winter social media has been "something to do"...a diversion. Everyone is voicing their opinions...talking about the weather. I have seen SO many comments from people who LOVE the snow...and wish we would get more. I have seen comments from people who say they are just going to stay in the house until May. I am going to ask all of you to take a second....and think outside of your box.

All of us are experiencing at least a little cabin fever...no matter how much you love (???) this weather. Go out and spend some time in your favorite small businesses....they need you!! Please stop talking about how much more snow you WISH we would get....somewhere there are people missing work...and a paycheck...who are, really, worried about paying their bills...and they don't need to hear how elated you are!!! And....most importantly....please, please figure out the FASTEST, most efficient, way to get rid of this snow. You can get home to your families....and WE can drive through town without hurting anyone, walk down the sidewalks without winding up in the emergency room, maintain the small businesses in town...and, perhaps, even entice new ones to come and join our community (I am going to be honest...if I were looking for a location...I would "pass" on our town, right now....can't even keep the streets clean!!!!) which....I thought....was a priority!!

The "ever-the-optomist" in me....30 days until Spring!! Do I, realistically, think that will mean warm temperatures and flowers will pop up all at once....no...but it DOES give me something to look forward to....and we ALL need that, right now!!!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Obsessions.....

What are your obsessions??

You know what I am talking about.

That thing....or things...that you think about all the time. For some it's decorating and re-decorating their homes. For some it's flea markets..."treasure hunting" if you will!! For some...it's reality TV...or purses...or shoes....or visiting Sweet Memories!!! (wink...wink....)

We all have SOMETHING....some of us (like me....) Have LOTS of somethings!!

One of those "somethings"....is cookbooks. I have them EVERYWHERE....and can't help myself!! I don't just buy them for the sake of it, though. I am very picky with the things that obsess me!!! Some people might say that my collection of cookbooks is a "tool of my trade"....and, of course, they would be right. After all....I bake and cook (among other things...) for a living!! Looking at new recipes (or....even better OLD recipes!!!!) certainly gets the creative juices flowing!! There is nothing I enjoy more than "tweaking" recipes to fit Sweet Memories style!! Just about anything can give me an idea for just about anything else. For example...I might see a recipe for a casserole and think....hmmm...some of those ingredients would be a great start for a new soup!! It doesn't matter if the obsession is "justified", though...it's still an obsession!! One that I am, currently, trying to find more room for....although, lack of storage will never be a good reason NOT to buy another book!!

Quite a few of my obsessions are evident when you visit Sweet Memories. Some show up in the gift shops...some in the restaurant....some in the decor, itself. After all....every square inch of the shop is an extension of me. The one that is the most evident...because it is in that big, lighted bakery case that draws you like a moth to a flame....is baking!!

There is no part of baking that I don't love! I love the process as much as the results. Baking is very different from cooking....much more exact!! It's creative, though, too...and I think that's the best part!! More than anything...I love "old-fashioned" recipes. The fondant/ too much/over-the-top stuff has it's place (I guess...) but the very best baked goods (in my opinion) are the ones with sweet memories!! I love to make cupcakes (even before they were "in"!!!) and brownies (the day I finally perfected THAT recipe was a happy one....but I am STILL tweaking it!!!!) cookies...big, small, plain and fancy...and, of course, cakes. However...if I had to pick one thing that was my "favorite" to make...it would be pie.

There is just something so comforting and old-fashioned about a homemade pie. The images of them cooling on the windowsill....you can, almost, smell the apples!! How many times have you seen big slices of pie served in old movies and TV shows?? Even Wilma Flintstone was known for her pie!! Homemade pie is not something you see very often, either...it's a lost art!! Too time consuming...too much work...and too many people "afraid" of crust!! That's OK, though....because having it in the bakery case at Sweet Memories is one of MY newest obsessions!! If you haven't tried a slice of our pie....maybe you should visit us....soon....then they can become one of YOUR obsessions, too! After all....shoes and purses go out of style....but a big slice of chocolate peanutbutter cream pie....that just has obsession written all over it!!!