THURMONT, Md. (AP) - Every restaurant should have its own Louise Lare.
That’s the opinion of Nick Kinna, manager of Mountain Gate Family Restaurant in Thurmont. Lare, 87, has worked there for the past 20 years, spending most of those years baking pies.
“My generation, they didn’t know how to bake the way Me-Maw knew how to,” Kinna said. “She’s someone we can always count on; she’s the backbone of our bakery.”
Lare is a lifelong resident of the Creagerstown area, where she grew up on a farm and married a crop and cattle farmer. When she’s not baking, her church of 80 years, St. John’s Lutheran in Thurmont, is her favorite place to be.
“I always seemed to bake. I was a farmer’s wife, so you cooked meals and baked,” she said.
Her favorites were always her cookie recipes, including date rolls, brown sugar drops, sand tarts and pressed peanut butter cookies.
“I guess it’s the end product,” Lare said of her love of baking cookies. “It’s the strangest things you enjoy.”
When husband, Eugene’s, health started to fail, Lare said, her daughter suggested she look into getting at least a part-time job to occupy her time. Eugene, with whom Lare had three children, died in 1987.
Lare, who had been a homemaker, initially worked in Mountain Gate’s gift shop but moved to the bakery when it needed some extra help. She now comes in at about 4:45 a.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. On those days, she sets an alarm for 3 a.m.
“It’s second nature,” she said of the early wake-up call. “I’m always in bed by 9 (p.m.)”
On a typical morning, Lare might make 10 lemon pies, three peanut butter pies, four chocolate pies, six coconut pies, five French apple pies and eight red velvet cakes. She said the pie crusts are sometimes frozen, but the fillings and toppings are made from scratch. She also might make side dishes like broccoli, cucumber or pasta salad, or pickled eggs.
One thing that keeps Lare coming back is the company.
“Everyone is so friendly, and they will help me,” she said. “If something is too hot, all I’ll have to do is ask and they’ll help.”
Though Lare used to work a few more days a week, she said she has not thought seriously about retiring. She said she likes the interaction and getting out of the house.
“You need to keep your mind and body busy,” she said. “If I decide it’s too much, I’ll say ‘Well, life was good.’”
Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, https://www.fredericknewspost.com
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