Can you taste the South?
A burst of citrus wrapped in sugary sweetness with just a hint of honey-salt to finish; her Lemon Sunshine cookies are just as refreshing as the new green fields of Georgia were to this Northerner’s eyes. I had the delicious pleasure of visiting my friend Lisa Tutherow at her new cookie store in Warner Robins, Georgia, the day after Easter.
Much like her popular cookie - my personal favorite of her five signature flavors - Lisa is a combination of all things familiar blended with southern charm and grace. Even the way the creamy glaze sits atop and finishes the chewy lemon zing reminds me of the way her platinum blonde hair crowns my beautiful friend perfectly. Part mother, daughter, sister, hard worker- all the ingredients needed to make that entrepreneurial spirit, or “grit” as they might say in these parts.
Oh, and don’t forget auntie. It was her adorable nephew who invited me to “drink” honeysuckle right off the vine just minutes after we pulled in the driveway. I couldn’t pass up the invitation to hunt for the wild flowers, bite off the ends and taste a drop of my youth.
Sweet as the morning was when we woke the next day and met the pre-dawn shift at “The Cookie Bar,” this small business has been a labor of love for Lisa. She has worked her way from mixing batches in her home-turned-cottage-licensed kitchen to packing big bins of cookies and selling at hot farmer’s markets to a commercial grade operation and now, finally, to a retail shop and (soon-to-be) online presence.
I remember the early days when she just had an idea that it would be nice to have an alternative to give someone you were thinking about something other than flowers. A baker at heart,she thought a box of cookies and a prayer would go a long way to healing what ails you. She has experimented with different flavors and the freshest, most unprocessed ingredients available, to create recipes that keep her customers coming back for more.
Finally, this past January she opened up her very own store not far from the gate of Robins Air Force base. It was my joy to join her staff and measure dry goods within the bright blue walls and yummy smells of baking sweet cream butter the day I went in to help. Even if only one day’s output - because they bake fresh daily - it was a thrill to don an apron and be part of a business with a mission.
Is it her mission to expand and succeed; to offer the best cookie for the price; to employ locals who need a positive place to work; to make a difference in her community; and to ultimately use her God-given talents to show love can be baked into everything we do.
That’s right, Sugar.