One of the things I hear most when I get to know people (some I have known for a long time) is, “Wait, I didn’t know your mom had a bakery. Your mom is Sheila Partin?” In the small town of Houston, Texas she has minor celebrity status. It is commonplace to read her name in the local newspaper, or hear a local radio talk show host talking about her amazing bread. It has also become pretty normal to walk into a restaurant and see her hamburger bun pass by on a burger. So, I will start here, my mom has a bakery. And it’s called Sheila Partin’s Sweet Sourdough.
When I was three and my brother was one (with another still to come, a “twinkle in her eye”) she started baking bread. In her tiny home kitchen. Can we think about this for a minute? I too had a one and three-year-old not too long ago, and I was sleep deprived enough, because kids. But I cannot even imagine sleeping in the kitchen floor with a kitchen timer to rotate baking bread. That takes grit. Or a little bit of crazy she would probably say!
She made the bread because she liked it, then gave it as gifts here and there to friends. It then morphed into selling in the carpool line at our pre-school and in hair salons from a silver tray wrapped in pink saran wrap. We tagged along with her and my dad would even carry a tray of bread through a salon or two (or 10 if you know my mom). She only had one rule, don’t come home until it’s all gone.
The bakery has grown quite a bit over the years but the back story is still the same. It’s still a family, home-grown business at heart. We still tell restaurants we visit about her bread and send samples. When we serve people food, you better believe it involves a loaf of bread. It is the gift we give as a thank you or as comfort for a grieving friend. Sheila Partin bread has become so much more to us than just a loaf of bread. It’s our way of serving, our form of hospitality. It is a staple in our freezer and on our tables.
But to us she’s just mom. And now to my kids just SheShe. I want to tell my story of growing up in this world. It includes some of her story, but from my perspective. So, if that sounds like a story you want to hear more about, I would love for you to keep coming back for more Confessions of a Baker’s Daughter!
Side note: My recommendation this week for a local favorite that serves Sheila Partin bread is Pinkerton’s Barbecue in the Heights. Their meat is killer and you can get a sandwich on the jalapeño cheese bread. Or just ask for it on the side to eat with your ribs! Our family favorites are the Dry Pork Ribs and the Prime Brisket. With Sheila Partin jalapeño cheese bread on the side of course!