I only know that it started not too far back in the family tree. My Grandma Keeton was one of 13 or so children (I can't remember the exact number) yes...they had a lot of kids back then :) Her mother worked in the fields with her husband and since my grandma keeton was the oldest girl she was in charge most of the time for raising her younger siblings. This involved everything from running the house to cooking for the family. Maybe that is why she got so great at it!
Sometime after meeting and marrying my Grandpa John, they decided to open a cafe in their own town. (a tiny town and the cafe was only two blocks from their house) Now when I say "cafe" its not like today's "cafe" with tiny tables, eclectic decor, coffee machines producing frothy latte's and Internet access. No this was more like what I think of it as a diner, or a mom and pop restaurant. The "Hardy Cafe" was its name and although at the time it wasn't much to look at on the outside, it was full of charm and great food on the inside. Farmers and locals from all over would come in bright and early for some of my grandmas fresh baked rolls, cakes, pies and food. It was "homemade" right down to the biscuits and gravy. My grandma would walk to the cafe as early as 3:00 am to start rolling out doughs for pies, biscuits, breads, kringla ect. It was quite a treat to go there and visit her. And I was fortunate to be able to visit her most weekends.
Her cafe had the old fashioned counter with swivel chairs, a display case with her wonderful desserts, hand dipped ice cream counter with all of the pretty glass dishes and sundae toppings and leather bound booths with the coat racks on the ends. I used to love to go with her there in the early mornings. I remember that the cafe was divided into four large rooms. One right after the other in a long row... The front obviously for customers, then the kitchen, following with her pie room, and then the office and cooling room as she called it. She said she made pies and rolls in the room by the kitchen because the heat would help all of her desserts rise nicely. After everything was baked she would carry it to the back room to set on long tables to cool.
Man could she crank out some pies! The back room always looked like it had a slight haze to it..sort of like what you would see on a really humid day outside. But this was from the flour that would poof up as she kneaded. Cinnamon rolls, Carmel rolls, Pecan rolls, Kringla (which is something that to this day I love to eat...it was like my bottle growing up I had it that much) and honestly every pie you can possibly imagine.
And then as the morning progressed, she would send me out front and let me "stock the candy counter" goodness I loved that job! And she had this old fashioned adding machine that she would let me goof around on. I rang up some outlandish sales I tell ya! Customers or "family" as you would hear grandma say it...would start coming in bright and early for breakfast. I remember saying to my mom once "wow we sure do have a big family" and she would laugh. But most of them were just farmers and such that would come in day in and day out for their breakfast, coffee and conversation. Grandma just got to know everyone after years of seeing them each day. Now I can't leave grandpa out. He was grandmas "get this for me" guy :) I would take many trips with him down to the farm to "collect the daily eggs" and let me tell ya... its "collecting" literally! Still warm from the chicken! LOL They both worked that cafe like a well oiled machine for many many years. And over that time... I watched...helped...and learned alot :)
I am thankful each and every day that they taught me and my mom how they made all of that stuff. And it is something that I enjoy teaching my kids (even though they are boys) to make as well....grandmas cafe lives on!!!!
This is a picture of my grandmas house in Hardy, Iowa. Unfortunatly, I don't have a picture of the Hardy Cafe :( Pictured here is my mom, Karen. May she rest in peace and know that I think of her each day!