Looking for bread, cake recipes from Sanitary Bakery
Editor: I want to reminisce on my childhood memories of the Sanitary Bakery, that venerable institution on the Back Street next to the old United Traders store, and to think of all the wonderful breads and cakes that we all loved so dearly. The Sanitary Bakery was the first stop for my mother whenever we visited Kingstown so that an order could be placed and collected before the bus left town for the country. It was also a popular spot after Grammar School ended at 3 pm to get snacks for the long bus ride home.
There was the “four cents bread” – everyone had the “penny bread” but Sanitary Bakery had a bigger version hence the “four cents” bread. The “eight cents loaf” was heavenly, beautiful brown crust and the whitest, softest pith, just like cotton. Then there was the “sixteen cents” sweet bread, a simple raisin bread but it was so soft and delightful.
The cakes were a real treat. Who could forget “crust cake” or “soli-tyre”? When you put one crust cake in water or cocoa tea it swelled up so much you could feed a crowd. There was everyone’s favourite, “bodyline”. There was that delicious bread pudding with its thick crust, penny per slice. When you got it hot from the oven, you had to eat multiple slices. Then there were jam buns, rock cake otherwise known as coconut drops or simply “drops”, red belly or coconut turnover and its cousin “slice”, and sponge cake, which is what we know today as a muffin.
Those were the good old days when we enjoyed staple treats such as a crust cake and a Ju-c or a bodyline and a mauby and a bread pudding and sugar water (lemonade). In time, the bakery changed ownership and closed shortly thereafter and we lost all those treats. To me it is regrettable because the Sanitary Bakery and its products defined my childhood and St Vincent has lost a big part of its culinary heritage. I have tried to find these breads and cakes whenever I was back in SVG but it is difficult. Julie Peters Campbell had a café on the Back Street across from the Singer Building and she made a good bread pudding, which I enjoyed frequently. There was a bakery in the old Market Square in the old Bata shoe store building and they had a good red belly – nothing else came close.
Therefore, I am on a mission to see if I can find some of these old recipes so that I may enjoy the foods of my childhood. I have searched the Internet to little avail. I have found something that may approximate rock cake and jam buns. I can make slice and red belly but crust cake and bodyline continue to elude me. I am therefore asking that when you read this article if you have any of these recipes will you share them with me at my email below? I promise that if I get a collection I will share them with all who contribute, or ask the Searchlight to publish some for posterity. St Vincent without crust cake and bodyline is like Trinidad without roti and Jamaica without ackee and salt fish. Julie, can you share your bread pudding recipe please? And one final plea to the Sardine family, if these recipes still exist, will you consider publishing them in a pamphlet so that our culinary heritage can be preserved? A pamphlet of these recipes will fly off the shelves faster than the breads and cakes flew out the Sanitary Bakery, or you could sell them online if publishing a pamphlet is an issue.