90th Birthday Blessings: Family, Friends, Food and Faith

1 Dec

Today is my 90th birthday.

I’m very lucky to say that. Only 2 percent of Americans can make that statement. I’ve become part of a very exclusive club.

I’m blessed in so many ways – with family and friends, a good business and good health.

And I’m excited that so many people have taken time from their busy schedules to celebrate with me.

I’m most appreciative to the Good Lord for providing me with everything I’ve ever needed and most of the things I’ve ever wanted. That includes all the people who’ve helped plan this special birthday. At 90, I’m find I have an abundance of love and support from an extended family — more people than I could have ever imagined.

Lately, people have been asking me, “What is the secret to my longevity?”

That’s a great question. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about longevity or mortality.  I’ve never been the kind to sit and contemplate. I’m too busy for that. Maybe that’s one of my secrets right there.

Recipe for Life

I’ve been working with recipes since I was a girl, so let me share the main ingredients that make my professional and personal life a success. These are simple ingredients – you should be able to find them easily. However, it’s important to use the ingredients correctly. Don’t overcomplicate the recipe. That’s the number one mistake people make.

Here’s the first ingredient — enjoy working. I love coming to work. I work every day except Monday, where you’ll find me at home baking with my family. That’s a tradition we’ve enjoyed for years.

During the 60-plus years I’ve been in the kitchen at Bavarian Inn Restaurant, I’ve worked with hundreds of team members. My job is to teach them food preparation skills, but often times we end up learning life lessons. My standards are high and I show new employees how to keep them high. I’m a stickler for details. That’s why we’ve run a successful business for six decades.

There is a correct way to do every task. Each piece of chicken is to be arranged on a plate just so. I don’t want to see an upside down leg or a breast with the bone up. Presentation is an important part of the meal.

Back in the kitchen, we follow exact procedures. For example, noodles in the steam table must stay moist. Hot food goes on hot dishes and cold food on cold dishes – never the other way around. As for keeping tidy, I have a variety of sayings: “If you can lean, you can clean,” and “if you made the mess, the mess is yours to clean up.” I’m not doing my job if I let mistakes slide. These lessons help instill good behaviors team members will use throughout their lives.

The second ingredient: Have a passion for the customer. Although I do not spend very much time in the dining room working directly with the guests, I think about them as I am making the food. The customer is the focus of everything we do.

When I try something new, I will ask our servers, “What did your guests think of that?” If something is not quite right, I either fix it or take if off the menu. I enjoy getting feedback from our diners. It helps keep me on my toes. We’re always looking for even the smallest ways to improve the Bavarian Inn experience. Our goal: exceed customer expectations in everything we do.

The third ingredient to successful longevity is an active mind. I’m always learning something new – either through my own experiments or from other cooks on the Food Channel and in cookbooks. Most often I learn from my own family members. From my late husband Tiny I learned business principles and new ways of marketing. We started the business from scratch and he had a wonderful business sense.

From my daughter Judy I learn about travel. Judy has traveled the world and often takes me with her. We learn about different cultures – their traditions, styles, social interaction and family dynamics. Of course we experience the local food and we love to shop and bring home souvenirs.

My son Bill teaches me something new at his Sunday night dinners. He is always experimenting with new recipes and ingredients. At the end of the evening he will ask if he should keep the recipe or toss it out. We often vote to toss it out.

From my daughter Roxie, with whom I bake most Mondays, I learned that two good cooks can – at times– disagree. Roxie and I can debate over methods, ingredients and instructions.  We laugh and concede that it’s okay to like different ways.

I really enjoy learning from my grandchildren – all ten of them. They have such a zest for life. They show me things they love such as computers, cell phones and motorcycles. My grandchildren tell funny stories and I laugh myself to tears just like my mother Hattie used to. There is no end to the learning that takes place in our family.

Finally, I have faith in God. I believe in the Jaycees creed – “Faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life.” That phrase really speaks to my heart.

I am thankful for my long and healthy 90 years. But I’m not throwing in the towel yet.  Tomorrow is a workday and I have lots on my “to do” list.

To my fellow 90-year-olds, I encourage you to keep active, stay passionate, work your mind and have faith. It is a recipe that has suited me well, and one I highly recommend.

Auf Wiedersehen – until I see you next week!

Dorothy’s book, “Come Cook With Me,” can be purchased for $24.99 in the Bavarian Inn’s Bakery, by phone 800-228-2742 Extention 3331 and online through the Bavarian Inn website at http://onlinestore.bavarianinn.com/browse.cfm/dorothys-cookbook-come-cook-with-me/4,19.html. It contains recipes that have been in Dorothy’s family for more than a century, several never before shared with the public.



3 Responses to “90th Birthday Blessings: Family, Friends, Food and Faith”

  1. Rose Weiss December 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Happy 90th Birthday, Dorothy! You have been such a blessing to Frankenmuth. I love reading you blog every week and take your advice to heart. I worked for the Bavarian Inn at Pedler’s Eatery in the River Place and, for a short time, worked 3rd shift bakery at the restaurant. I whole-heartedly enjoyed it. That experience is what started my cooking and baking passion and I now have my own pastry business that I am running from home. I am still working in an office full-time but have the hope of expanding my business one day! I hope you enjoy your birthday today and I cannot wait for another update to your blog.

    God’s Blessings,

    Roselynn Weiss

  2. brenda December 8, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    Happy 90th birthday Dorothy!!!!!! I sure hope your day was a great blessing!!!! You are a great blessing!!!!!

    • rose lariviere December 9, 2011 at 1:34 am #

      Happy Blessed 90th Birthday. What memories you have and have created for others. God Bless you
      Rose Lariviere

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