The most common question we hear…..”How did you get started?” Or, “What inspired you to bake?” The short answer is ……I (Jeri) had retired from the rat race, or so I thought, and my daughter, Julianna, was looking to be an entrepreneur in the baking world.
Sounds like a match made in heaven, right? Well, think again. History, meaning both of our histories, played a huge role in this endeavor.
I grew up in a large family, competing with my six siblings for everything from getting the biggest piece of muskmelon for breakfast to getting in line (literally) to use our one bathroom. Being a middle child, I got it from both ends! Anyway, the girls were introduced to the kitchen and the art of cooking from an early age. Of course we all started off as dishwashers just like in a restaurant and had to work our way up the ladder.
Our parents owned their own business so much of the cooking was left to us girls as we grew up. During the summer months, Mom would leave a note of what to get ready for lunch. A typical noon meal consisted of pot roast with potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery in the oven. Then, a lettuce salad with our “secret” homemade dressing. Dessert might be cake or something similar. A quick clean up and we were ready for an afternoon of fun, riding our bikes, going to the local swimming pool and stopping by the library for the latest Nancy Drew book.
Fast forward from my childhood to adulthood.
After marrying my handsome rugged farmer, I cooked lots on the $5 gas stove we had procured at a local auction. Yes, lighting the oven without singeing off my eyebrows was always an adventure. Fortunately, we were able to move up to a better range in a few years. I was always up to try something new like the fish stew I made once and Only Once.
With my own children, Jarad and Julianna, I taught them to cook and know their way around the kitchen. Julianna took to the kitchen like a duck to water. Her favorite foods you ask? Cheese and butter or butter and cheese, depending on the day. She quickly learned that butter is, in fact, a food group all by itself. We only used butter at home; however, her first taste of margarine left her thinking she had been poisoned. Never again would margarine knowingly pass her lips! Julianna comes from a long line of bakers and cooks on both sides of the family. She has it in her blood. Her “Grammy” (rugged farmer’s mother) was well known in the area for her bread baking skills and her ability to substitute ingredients successfully. Julianna learned how to properly knead bread at Grammy’s house.
By the time Julianna had finished high school, she was not only an accomplished cook but also an excellent volleyball player. She headed off to The University of Missouri in Columbia to attend school and play volleyball in The Big Twelve Conference. Cooking and baking continued to be an important part of her life. After graduating with a Masters Degree in Accountancy, she then had the opportunity to travel to Europe to play volleyball professionally. Julianna ended up in Kuusamo, Finland. Kuusamo is where her volleyball team was based. Anyway, Kuusamo is in northern Finland, pretty darned close to the Arctic Circle and just across the way…..is Russia. Yep, Julianna furthered her education in Finland. She learned, for example, the reindeer are real. Not the magical kind but the real kind. She had long ago stopped believing in “Santa” but somehow missed the boat on the reindeer deal.
But, to get back on track….Julianna and her roommate spent much of their free time baking and cooking. She was also trying her hand at some of the local dishes, although I don’t think she could ever bring herself to try a dish with reindeer in it.
Julianna has a “sweet tooth” that is indigenous in my family and now in her. You can’t fight it! And, Sweet Satisfaction was about to be born. She was back home in the Midwest United States and knew what she wanted to do. I was a bit skeptical at first……my goodness, this kid had just graduated from college with a Master’s Degree, what could she be thinking??
I had a long and rewarding career as a Registered Nurse and had recently retired. A graduate of The University of Iowa, I had spent my time as Mom, Nurse and Wife on the farm. Ok, I didn’t really do any day to day activities on the farm. I had my rugged farmer husband who took care of that and still does.
The year is May, 2011. Julianna worked on a business plan while I spent my time enjoying our beautiful new home with its top of the line gourmet kitchen. Julianna finished the business plan and had done the research necessary to get going in her business. She named her new business “Sweet Satisfaction.” The business was entirely Julianna’s “baby” and I was satisfied to be her “assistant.” We set up shop in the gourmet kitchen and quickly began to fill the garage with all things baking…..no cars allowed! We participated in local farmers markets and found that yes, our products were in demand. Little did either of us imagine where this venture would take us.