Many people wonder where the name Sister Schubert's comes from. When I was born, my older sister, Charlotte, couldn't pronounce my given name, Patricia. My parents told her just to call me Sister, and I've been Sister to family and friends ever since.A Long Line of Great Cooks
From the time I could hold a spoon, I've loved to cook. One of my fondest early memories is of standing on a kitchen stool to help my mother and Mary Ella Starks, our family cook, prepare meals and baked goods.
I am grateful to have come from a long line of great cooks on both sides of my family. Grandmothers, aunts, sisters and cousins shared cherished family recipes and handed down the secrets of great cooking to each new generation.
My grandmother Leona Henderson Wood (we called her Gommey) taught me to bake her wonderful Parker House style rolls as a young girl. The first time I made them was for family and friends at Thanksgiving. I was nervous because the technique of making yeast rolls was new to me. But the rolls came out of the oven golden and light with an aroma that called everyone to the table.
Gommey has been an inspiration throughout my life as the most wonderful grandmother you could imagine, a superlative cook and a savvy businesswoman. When my father went off to serve in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Gommey and her sisters kept the family furniture business alive. Even after he returned safely, Gommey kept an active hand in the business. She was often there when I worked at the store after school and on weekends and gave me my first lessons in customer service.Finding a Balance, Beginning a Family
Like many women today, I've often struggled to find a way to balance earning a living with creating quality time to nurture home and family. I never dreamed that my love of cooking could become a career. Or that my family's heirloom recipes could provide a way for busy working families to enjoy home-baked quality rolls at their everyday meals.
I studied interior design in college and then worked as a flight attendant and an advertising media buyer before settling down to marry and raise my daughters Charlotte and Chrissie. In time, we moved back to my hometown of Troy, Alabama, where I worked as an interior designer in the family furniture business.A Passion Becomes a Business Idea
Cooking and baking remained my greatest passions, and I was never happier than when preparing food for family and friends. By 1989, I was running a little bitty catering business that I called The Sliver Spoon. Everyone raved about the Parker House style rolls that I baked using the old family recipe inherited from Gommey, who called them "Everlasting Rolls."
That year a friend asked me to donate a few pans of rolls to our church's holiday frozen food fair. I sold 20 pans, and they put the rolls on the order form for the following year's sale. I had to cut off orders at 200 pans that year, and at 300 pans in 1991.
I sat down after that third holiday fair and said to myself," If the people in Troy like my rolls, maybe other folks will too and not just at the holidays." And Sister Schubert's Homemade Rolls was born.