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Straight From the Oven to My Customers

Straight From the Oven to My Customers

Courtesy of the Library of Congress


Courtesy of the Library of Congress

We are starting new series today based on oral histories found in the Martha’s Vineyard Museum archive located Edgartown, Massachusetts. I’ve transcribed the interviews and share them as short stories that are both enlightening and instructive to those interested in pursuing a career in the culinary arts today. The interviews are based on the life experiences of largely women who had been home cooks. How much they earned is unclear and most often not discussed. The stories are based on oral histories about their entire lives growing up on the island but this food writer focused on the culinary content. I’ll be sharing them over the next couple days and possibly weeks a little bit at a time.

Barber Allen Mederios was born in 1903. She grew up on Martha’s Vineyard on a family farm. To earn additional money she used her culinary skills. Mederios recalls, “I used to make 150 little rolls in one pan that went straight from the oven to my customers.”  Mederios experience producing delicious rolls which she sold out of her home is instructive in a couple of ways. First it shows that the best way to start a business is a little bit at a time. Second, by cooking out of her home she kept her startup cost low. Another way to keep one’s costs down would be to obtain several large orders for a catered event and get paid in advance so that you have the capital necessary to purchase your ingredients. Third, how do you set the price for your product? Today we have the ability to do research online. Go online and see what price are for others with like products. Remeber, the difference between a business and a hobby is the ability to make a profit worth your return on investment (ROI). The final piece of advice is to keep great records and to open a separate checking account which is used only for your business. This will help properly file income taxes on your business.

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Fred Opie Show Podcast

Martha’s Vineyard Series:

Picking and Canning Fruit on the Vineyard Part 1

Picking and Canning Fruit on the Vineyard Part 2

Picking and Canning Fruit on the Vineyard Part 3

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