Re:Thanks, Jane & Michael!!
It has been 2 weeks since the Parade article on our pie came out. It has been a very interesting time at the restaurant. A few thoughts and observations on the impact of the article;
Michael & Jane, if you ever think that what you do has no impact on people's lives, disabuse yourselves of those thoughts. Not only has there been a immediate positive financial impact on our business these last 2 weeks, but the article has touched so may lives. For example, the following is an e-mail I received:
"Hello, my name is Patricia Howie, niece of several people (Mary Ann Gettler, and Leona and Clair Schmitz) who live near you. I live in Flint, MI, and saw your sour cream raisin pie mentioned as number 1 in an article by the Sterns in last Sunday's Parade magazine. When I saw where you were located, I called my mother, Rita Knutson (sister of the above-mentioned Mary Ann and Leona), who lives four doors down from me in Flint. She was born in Dedham, and grew up in and around Coon Rapids. She remembers eating this pie when she was a little girl. Her mother, Margaret Tigges, who was born more than a hundred years ago very near your location, made it often. I have never heard of this pie, and would like your recipe, if you share your recipes. I would to make it for my mom, who will be a vibrant and totally independant 87 years old next February. There aren't many things my mom needs as gifts any more, and I am in poor health and cannot take her traveling (or we would visit our relatives in Iowa and eat this pie at your restaurant!!!). I suppose I could search the internet for a recipe, but I was hoping to get yours, as the connection between my mom and her relatives and where you are located is so amazing. None of Mom's remaining sisters have their mother's recipe. I am hoping that your recipe is very close to my grandmother's, given how close you are to her birthplace. Many thanks for your consideration, Patricia Howie , Flint, MI
P. S. My mom called her sister Mary Ann after seeing the Parade article, and Mary Ann has eaten at your restaurant!"
People from around the country are remembering their Midwest roots or connections to Iowa. Several of my regular customers have exclaimed that a friend or relative from out-of-state has called excitedly to comment on the article. They even send us copies of the article!
Our typical day now: IMom arrives at 5:30 AM to start the first of 20 pies; her assistant arrives at 6:30. I open the door at 6:45 and our first customers are 2 gentlemen from Omaha on their way to Chicago. Why did they stop at the Farmer's Kitchen? The article, of course. 10 calls during the morning: we are traveling through Iowa. How do we get to the restaurant? I read about your sour cream raisin pie!
At 10:30, Mom takes a break. At 10:31, Mom starts greeting the customers who are here from Texas, Sioux City, Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida, Kansa, Washington. What brings you here? she asks? The article, of course!!
Lunch is hectic. It finally slacks of at 2 PM. The waitresses sit down wearily and start wrapping silverware. But, wait a local contingent of Red Hat Ladies swoop in! 12 more pices of pie gone!! I answer the 20 e-mails received taht day requesting our ecipe. Mom answers the letters from little old ladies who dom't know how to use the Internet. then, bakes another 5 pies because the pie case is emptying fast.
Dinner time arrives. Local customers are arriving and bringing visitors to see Atlantic's newest attraction, our pie case! Folks from Shenandoah, Harlan, Anita, and other towns stream in. Why? We heard you have a great pie!
8 PM arrives and we begin to shut down. But, wait! A car of 4 ladies from Colorado pull up! Can we still eat? We read about you in Parade!!
I think we Roadfooders sometimes consider ourselves somewhat superior to the fast food lemmings who populate the country. The last 2 weeks have shown me that there is a vast number of people who do yearn for good food. The Sterns provide that beacon of light. Thank you for your years of dedication to this cause.