Legendary cook unveils secrets

For 42 years Mollie Andrews ran her bakery at 1313 Main St. in Sweet Home.

When firefighters rousted themselves out of bed in the middle of the night to respond to a blaze or a bad accident, Andrews, who started work each day at 2 a.m., would get the coffee on and feed them when they came back and needed to debrief.

When the football team went to the playoffs, she would give them a free breakfast.

Her diner was a daily stop for many loggers, who would load up on breakfast before heading into the woods. Her doughnuts were legendary.

“She was a very, very generous lady to the community,” said Joan Riemer, vice president of the Sweet Home Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors, where Andrews serves as treasurer.

In recognition of Andrews’ contributions to the community over the decades, Riemer and other Senior Center members have published a cookbook that includes 50 of Andrews’ up-till-now-secret recipes.

“We decided that since she owned the bakery, we’d do a cookbook to honor her,” Riemer said. “Some day she won’t be around any more and we’ll all miss her terribly. She’s been a wonderful person in the community.”

Andrews, 88, is effusive in her enthusiasm for the finished product.

“They did a great job, then they dedicated it to me,” she said. “It was almost more than I could take.

“I had the bakery for 42 years,” Andrews said. “I did all the banquets, that kind of stuff. It was a town center. Like everybody says, it was an institution. People are still hounding me to make maple bars. But the old body gave out. I worked till I was 84. Then I had to quit.”

She said the 202-page, spiral-bound cookbook includes some of her most popular dishes, including her recipes for Tom and Jerry Batter, scalloped chicken, ham with carrot-pineapple sauce, Mexican wedding cookies, meat loaf, baking powder biscuits and “a lot of recipes for large crowds €“ recipes she said she “sweat blood over.”

“I was hesitant, but Joan Reimer came to me, and asked ‘Mollie, can we honor you with this cookbook?’ I kind of hesitated, then said ‘Sure, anything to help the Senior Center.'”

Riemer said she expects the Tom and Jerry Batter recipe to be a particular draw for the community.

“People have tried and tried to get that recipe from her and she’d never give it out,” Riemer said. “It’s in the cookbook, so people can get it.”

The cookbook also includes nearly 150 other recipes in addition to Andrews,’ contributed by Senior Center members.

The book was compiled by Riemer, Martha Morrill, Glenda Hopkins and Betty Postma, and was illustrated with photos of Andrews involved in various events and at her shop, old photos of Sweet Home, and with pen drawings by Marilyn Taggart.

In the back are “helpful hints” regarding laundry, drying clothes, kitchen operations, freezing, ingredient substitutions, and much more.

“We wanted it to be Sweet Home,” Riemer said. “That was our goal, for Molley and for the community. A lot of people used to be part of community and have moved far away. This is just a taste of Sweet Home for them.”

Andrews appears at the Senior Center nearly every day, where she likes to play cards in addition to keeping tabs on the finances and helping with the kitchen.

ere, they conned me into being treasurer,” she said. “A couple of years later, our volunteer cook quit. We hired some gal for $10 an hour. She said she didn’t’ want to buy groceries. So I said I could do that.”

Andrews said she has found it challenging to find food prices that enable the Senior Center to maintain the $3.50 price it charges for the lunch it serves on Wednesday. She said she looks for bargains more than she did when she was in business.

“I never was a shopper like that before, but now I clip all the coupons,” she said. “It’s hard for me to go from store to store and ask for donations. I was all donated out when I was in business.”

Hopkins, who wrote a biography of Andrews that appears in the cookbook, noted that Andrews plays a “mean” game of pinochle.

“I love the center,” Andrews said. “There’s a lot of stuff I could do at home, but I think I’ve only got so much time and I might as well travel and have fun. I go up there every day.”