Saturday, February 27, 2016


By Mary Kennedy                             
Hi everyone! Taylor Blake here. I'm the "sensible" sister from the Dream Club Mysteries.  You probably remember that I have an MBA, love to crunch numbers and moved to Savannah to help my sister Ali save her vintage candy store.                                                              
   True confession time. I had a lot to learn when I first moved here. Ali had been in Savannah for a few months before I arrived and she had loads of good friends to show her the ropes.  She was happy to share her tips with me, and I think I've made a pretty good adjustment. Is Savannah different from Chicago? You betcha! At first I felt like a fish out of water, but here is my own blueprint for success. And remember, if this northerner can become a southern gal, so can you! Just follow these easy steps.
1. Always offer your guests a beverage. Always, no exceptions. Ali likes to keep two icy pitchers on the counter--free for the customers.  One is filled with home-made lemonade and the other is sweet tea. (Yes, sweet tea. Forget about calories, it's just not tea if it's not sweet.). Ali has been known to keep a nice pot of coffee brewing too, no matter what the weather. It's a nice gesture and makes our customers feel welcome. And it's good business; they're much more like to browse (and spend money) if they're holding a nice drink.

2. Serve something to nibble on. It doesn't have to be fancy. But a little plate of cheese crackers (home-made), some sugar cookies, or sugared pecans is a nice touch. Ali even makes a few cucumber sandwiches every morning and stashes them in the fridge. She whips them out mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and you'd be surprised how many people gobble them up. Here's her recipe. She swears it's "Southern" because she uses a touch of Tabasco sauce.
Cucumber sandwiches.

Ingredients. One medium cucumber, 1 eight oz container of cream cheese, 1/2 teas salt, one loaf thinly sliced white bread, 2 dashes of Tabasco sauce, mayonnaise.
Directions. Peel cucumber and slice thinly, removing seeds. Add cream cheese and tabasco.  Mix with cucumber. Now, spread mayo on each slice of bread and assemble sandwiches. Trim crusts. You can make finger sandwiches by cutting sandwiches in thirds, or you can make cute little triangles, whatever you prefer.  Chill until ready to serve.

3. Always inquire about "the family." Southerners love to talk about their family (well, most of the time) and you will score a hit if you remember to ask about their Aunt Belle or if little Lisbeth is enjoying kindergarten. They like to gossip, too, but that's another whole story.
4. Make people feel welcome. Southerners like to talk and they like to take their time. Never make them feel rushed. A friendly smile can go a long way to make them feel at home. And after all, as Ali says, the candy store is an extension of our home (we live in the apartment upstairs), so we should treat our customers as guests.

5. Always go out of your way to be helpful. People will remember it. I remember one family insisted that their chicken salad sandwiches be served on croissants and we were out. Ali said not to worry and sent Dana, our assistant, to our favorite French bakery. She was back in a flash with a dozen fresh croissants and saved the day.

Don't worry, next month, we'll talk more about everything I've learned in Savannah and I'll be sure to include a favorite recipe.

In the meantime, come for a visit and sit a spell. You'll be a southerner in no time!!

Mary Kennedy

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