Sister’s new book

Published 2:30 am Saturday, August 29, 2009

Patricia “Sister” Barnes – known as “Sister Schubert,” maker of rolls to most – knows a secret about bread, and it’s not the recipe for her famous rolls.

“With children, and my little grandchildren, if you have ‘Ma-mommie’s’ roll on a plate, you can get them to the table, and then you can get them to eat peas and butterbeans. You can always, always entice children to the table with a good piece of bread.”

For Barnes, who learned the lesson at her own grandmother’s table, no meal is complete without bread, and the grandmother from whom she learned to make her now-famous rolls usually included two choices with a meal.

“We ate with my grandmother at least once a week,” she said. Asked to recall a favorite meal at her grandmother’s table, she sad, “Fried chicken, butterbeans and peas, potatoes and rolls.”

It is the recipes passed down through her family, as well as her own story of “starting a business with the title to my station wagon” that make up Sister’s new 180-page coffee-table cookbook, Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters, which will hit the streets this coming week.

“There are a lot of wonderful bread recipes from five generations of great cooks in the book,” Sister said.

She said the book is about “going back to comfort and family,” and that the simple, down-home recipes represent “many happy memories, from cheesecakes to boiled custards.”

“It’s heartwarming,” she said. “It takes you back to when we felt good.”

Her family doesn’t eat out often, she said.

“My mother never ate out. We had picnics packed when we went on a trip,” she recalled. “I remember when my little Chrissie was about 4, we were out somewhere and I asked her if she wanted to eat at McDonalds.

“She looked up at me and said, ‘Momma, is there anything at home we can eat?’ ”

These days, her family still eats at home, and they eat lots of grilled foods.

“You know I live with boys,” she said of husband George and sons Evans and Alex. “George does a lot of grilling on the weekend, and we do creative things with what he grills throughout the week.”

Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters is her second cookbook. Sasha’s Home, the orphanage established in Gorlovka, Ukraine, by her foundation, The Barnes Family Foundation, will be the primary beneficiary.

An alternative to overcrowded state institutions, Sasha’s Home provides a warm and loving temporary home for 40 abandoned children while they await adoption by their “forever families.” In the Ukraine, “Sasha” is an affectionate nickname for children named Alexander or Alexandra. Barnes chose this name for the home in honor of her adopted Ukrainian-born son, Alexsey.

Sister said she expects to do a book-signing at home in Andalusia after the book publishes next week. She also expects to do a number of television appearances promoting the cookbook. Meanwhile, books can be purchased through a Web site created for the book, Books purchased online will be autographed.