Sister Schubert signs copies of her cookbook at Palladio Antiques in Cooper Young.
Here’s a big event: I just wrapped my first Christmas present. Even more impressive, it’s a present for me.
On Thursday, I stopped by Palladio Antiques to meet Patricia Barnes, affectionately known as Sister Schubert, who was signing copies of her cookbook “Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters.” Between Barnes’ winning personality and the gorgeous book, I couldn’t help but buy one. And yes, there are plenty of recipes for rolls, along with recipes for butters, brunch, main dishes, veggies and holiday favorites like pumpkin mouse and Mamie’s cornbread dressing.
I wasn’t the only fan to show up early. By 10 a.m., Barnes was signing a stack of cookbooks with inscriptions like the one in my book: “Be gentle when you touch Bread.” Equally charming were the greetings from almost every woman who walked in the store. “I love your biscuits! I ate them last night,” said one well-wisher after another.
Such greetings are commonplace for Barnes, whose Sister Schubert's homemade rolls are almost legendary in the Mid-South. “I love the stories,” Barnes said. “I hear about people’s weddings and baby showers. It’s my favorite part of book signings.”
Barnes lives in Andalusia, Alabama, but she visited Memphis as part of her busy life that recently included a two-week stint in Provence at the Julia Child “Cooking with Friends” school. (So jealous.) “We learned to do a reduction for duck and veal,” Barnes said. “It was fabulous.”
After Memphis, Barnes is headed to New Orleans and Washington, D.C. for additional book signings, which are important fundraisers for Sasha’s Home, a foster home for abandoned children in Gorlovka, Ukraine, supported by the Barnes Family Foundation.
All sales of the book go directly to the foundation, which is one reason Barnes only sells her cookbook online through Amazon.com or during personal appearances. The limited distribution also allows Barnes to personalize every book.
“I sign each and every one,” she said. “It’s a small act of love as a way of thanking people for helping the children and believing in our foundation.”
If you didn’t make it to the book signing, copies of the cookbook (signed of course) will continue to be sold at Palladio, and Barnes herself hopes to return in the spring. “We’re talking about doing some cooking demonstrations here because it’s such a wonderful space,” she said. “I think we could have a lot of fun.”