In the South, some of life’s most important lessons are taught in the kitchen.
When 73-year-old Evelyn Watts, along with three others, was killed in a car accident last summer, most of those saddened by her death mentioned food.
Watts spent 30 years in the lunchroom at Munford High School, but she was really famous for the goodies she made as the owner of Evelyn’s Bakery.
"Mrs. Evelyn has probably fed everyone in the town of Munford at some point," Munford Mayor David Dabbs told The Daily Home after her death. "She loved to serve others, and will be truly missed by us all."
The responsibility for keeping that love alive has fallen in part to Mrs. Evelyn’s son Curtis Watts and his wife, Pat. The Munford couple runs C. Watts Farm, a pick-your-own strawberry farm and produce stand. They recently opened Evelyn’s Son Bakery, where they’ve been baking some of Mrs. Evelyn’s best-loved recipes.
"It’s about keeping her tradition alive," Pat said. "We already had the building … it’s just one of those things in life you can’t really plan for, but it worked out."
About every 10 years or so, Mrs. Evelyn would publish a new cookbook, which provides the source material for Evelyn’s Son Bakery.
"It was her cinnamon rolls and cheese rolls that really put her on the map," Pat said. "They were famous … around here at least."
Growing up, Curtis would help his mama with the bakery, which started out in her garage. But those memories didn’t do justice to just how hard Mrs. Evelyn worked.
"She’d get up at 3 a.m. every morning to get it all done," he said. "And Sunday she’d go to church. I really don’t know how she did it. I don’t think she ever really made any money at it, but she just loved doing for others."
Curtis wasn’t ready to give all that up, he said. "I hope to continue cooking as tribute to her."
Evelyn’s Son Bakery is at C. Watts Farm, 351 Oak Grove Road, Munford. Call 256-493-0916 to place a bakery order. Also, the farm expects to have strawberries available for picking at the end of March into April. The Watts also hope to have Texas Super Onions and garlic ready for harvest around the same time.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EVELYN’S HOMEMADE YEAST ROLLS
This is Mrs. Evelyn’s most famous recipe. In addition to rolls, she used this dough to make cinnamon rolls and cheese rolls.
- 1 quart warm water
- ¾ cup butter, melted
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅛ cup salt
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup yeast
- 1 cup powdered milk
- ¾ gallon bread flour
Mix together warm water, melted butter, sugar, salt, eggs, yeast and powdered milk. Mix well. Add flour. Let rise until double. Roll out and cut into shapes and let rise again. Cook at 350 degrees until golden brown.
To make cheese rolls or cinnamon rolls: Roll out dough flat into rectangle. Spread cheese on top, or spread cinnamon and sugar with melted butter. Roll and slice, then let rise again before baking.
- 1 small potato, boiled until tender
- 2 cups powdered sugar (more if needed)
- Peanut butter
Mash potato and add sugar to make a soft dough. Roll out into rectangle and spread peanut butter on top. Roll up into log shape and chill, then slice thin.
RED VELVET CAKE
- 1 box white cake mix
- 1 stick butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
Mix first six ingredients together. Fold in baking soda and vinegar. Pour into three 9-inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees until done, about 20-25 minutes. Frost with cream cheese icing (recipe follows).
CREAM CHEESE ICING
- 1 stick butter
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
- 1 (1 pound) box powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Beat butter and cream cheese together until light. Beat in sugar a little bit at a time. Add vanilla. This icing doesn’t get hard.