A little roll can go a long way

Published 9:43 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It was a little bite of heaven, complete with moist bread, sugary pecans and a sweet dose of cinnamon. It was called Cinnamon Pecan Bread Pudding, and it was being served by none other than Sister Schubert herself.

Sister Schubert was in Huntsville last week, sharing her story and her amazing food, including Cinnamon Pecan Bread Pudding. Along with imparting food, Sister also shared the story of how her small catering business that began in her Troy kitchen blossomed into a state-of-the-art facility in Luverne that produces more than one million rolls a day.

Like many Southern women, Sister (who’s given name is Patricia though she said no one in her family calls her that) learned to cook in her grandmother’s kitchen.

She cooked her grandmother’s rolls for a bake sale, then moved on to producing them for a local grocery store. Before long, her creations could be found in Montgomery and Birmingham.

Soon, her work caught the eye of a food broker who introduced her expanding line of products throughout the country. The rolls—flaky Parkerhouse rolls, sweet cinnamon and orange rolls and tart blueberry Danish, among others—were a hit. She opened her new production facility and her “little” company became a big one.

So big, in fact, it caught the eye of a larger corporation and soon, Sister Schubert’s was purchased by T. Marzetti Company, which operates it using Sister’s original recipes.

But that’s not the end of the story. Sister and her husband became involved with an orphanage in the Ukrane. Sister traveled to visit the Abandoned Baby Center and adopted a son, whom they named Alex. Wanting to do more, the couple is now funding the construction of a new facility for the children, Sasha’s Home. The $1 million facility will serve as an alternative to state-run homes for those children awaiting adoption. The family also established the Barnes Family Foundation, which provides financial assistance to an array of organizations designed to improve the lives of children.

Sister Schubert probably didn’t set out to improve the lives of children around the world, but she did—and all because she went into the kitchen and started baking.

It’s amazing what a roll can do.

And the Cinnamon Pecan Bread Pudding? Go to www.sisterschuberts.com/recipe for your own copy. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.