If You Bake It, They Will Come

A recent BBC Food Wars story about the German city investing in grandma's cakes highlights Munich's Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake), a German tradition tracing its origins to the 17th century. It continues into the 21st century with a social start-up known as Kuchentratsch (cake and gossip), a bakery that has been providing local cafes with wonderful treats created by the area's retired citizens.

There are many retirees who contribute to their community by sharing their art of baking. Whether for profit or charitable contributions, these "seasoned" citizens offer fabulous cakes, breads and other fare. But most importantly, they connect community. It may be at a coffee house that features home-baked goods or in someone's home, where one enjoys the company of kindred spirits.

Would you like to start a new tradition in your community? Then check out these selections, which offer delicious ideas on how to begin your culinary (ad)venture!

Not only are the recipes tantalizing, but the shared stories will resonate long after the last piece of pie is finished. The Cake Club members are all about life's celebration of friendship. They will definitely bring back some interesting memories about food and kindred spirits of your past.

Definitely some wonderful recipes here. Who could resist vegan red velvet cupcakes, trifle, fresh coconut or pastel de tres leches cakes? However, the stories behind each baker present a fascinating look at the Cake Ladies behind the bakes. Filled with much humor and wisdom, these women from different cultures and backgrounds have turned their baking passion into successful endeavors.

Not into baking cakes, but love the challenge of a good cookie instead? If you are searching for inspiration at a local level, Holiday Cookies is just that. Winners from past Chicago Tribune's Holiday Cookie Contest share the story and memories behind their creations. These are not just for holidays, but gatherings throughout the year.

Looking to celebrate the world's diversity or expand your repertoire of treats to share with family and friends? Home Baking takes you on an international journey with a story behind each bake. This beautifully illustrated multicultural work will delight and inspire you to reconnect with your family's culinary past or learn to ways to connect with the art of baking from other countries.

Looking for inspiration with a bit of baking nostalgia? Wanting to reconnect a memory from a past gathering and make it your baking passion? Vintage Cakes may be the place to begin gathering ideas for your next get together or new entrepreneurial adventure. From cupcakes to chiffon, to carrot and red velvet, you will find it here. Never heard of a Harvey Wallbanger or Kentucky Bourbon Cake? This cake walk down memory lane awaits you.

Do you have a memory of someone whose baking is legendary that you'd like to share? Or have you become that legend?

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