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'How my momma influenced my life'
Liberty lore
Col Love Henrietta
Paula Miller (left) stands with Henrietta Relaford McIntosh Weaver at her store in Key West. - photo by Photo provided.
“Mama, when I get to Key West, Fla., I am going to look up Henrietta, and walk up to her and tell her that I am from Walthourville,” my daughter told me.   
That did not enthuse me at all.
“Who in the world is Henrietta?  Why would you want to see her?” I asked.
Then I received the whole story.
Henrietta Relaford McIntosh Weaver was born and reared in Riceboro. She is the daughter of Henry and the late Louise Relaford. Henry is a Riceboro City councilman.
Henrietta grew up in a house with eight brothers. She loved the outdoors and always wanted to be outside with her siblings. She hated staying inside with her mama.
Of course, she did not want to help with the work the boys had to do. They worked in the fields, helped chop firewood and any other chores that needed to be done on a farm.
But Henrietta just wanted to be outside with the crowd. Staying inside the home she thought she was missing out on something.
Every time she slipped outside and her daddy saw her, he sternly told her, “Go back in the house and help your mama!”
After a few times of that, and one final abrupt “GET BACK INTO THAT HOUSE,” she decided one day to stay in the kitchen and watch — not help
She recalled, “I sat on the stool and watched Mama. She told me she was mixing a sour cream pound cake. She carefully measured flour, sugar, baking powder and such in cups with lines drawn around them and little numbers. She would pour ingredients in the cup and hold it up and see if it went to a certain line.  Then she poured flour into a sifter and sifted and measured that. Oh, my! This was getting to be too monotonous. I would just dump all that mess together any old way and beat it up, I thought to myself.”
Mama was carefully measuring each ingredient and mixing things together in such a fashion that it was much like that of a love relationship. I could stand it no longer and asked, “Mama, why don’t you dump all the eggs in at once and beat everything together at one time?”
I can still hear her say, “No, baby. Maybe some cakes you can do that with, but not this cake.”
She proceeded to explain why not, saying, “You have to know your cakes.”
Mama made that day in the kitchen end up being very interesting after all and rewarding, too. She let me lick the bowl and spoon. And that was the day that  “Romancing your Cakes” was born in a little kitchen in Riceboro.
The years passed and Henrietta became the owner of a little store in Key West called “The Art of Baking by Henrietta.” She has been featured on the Food Network channel on Paula Dean’s parties and in several magazines such as “Fine Art.”  
Her store is on Petronia Street in the heart of the Bahama Village area of Key West. The building is aqua blue with dark blue trim.
Philadelphia is known for its Hoagie Rolls. San Francisco is known for its sour dough. It bothered Henrietta that Key West did not have a bread of its own.  While thumbing through her old family recipes from her mama back in Liberty County, she ran across a really good dinner roll recipe. She whipped up the recipe and wondered what shape she could conjure up.
As she was kneading the dough, an old man who everyone knew came down the street in front of the shop. Everyone knew him as “The Old Conch.”
Suddenly, there was her inspiration. She would make rolls shaped like a conch shell that was a popular and unique local symbol.  Shape, shape, trim, trim, roll, roll, and bake, bake! She repeated the process until she perfected it. On that lovely spring day, the first conch roll was made. And a dozen followed that and more dozens followed them until the whole town knew about and ate Henrietta’s “Original Key West Conch Roll.”
I have the recipe for the conch roll, but I certainly will not even attempt to make one.
Henrietta’s Original Key West Coconut Strips cannot be kept on the shelf. Even people who don’t like coconut love them. The idea for them came from a lady that told her how much she loved the coconut bread but she just sliced off the top crust and ate it. The rest she used for a bread pudding. Henrietta went to work creating just a thin strip of coconut bread. She now makes them in key lime and chocolate covered. I know they are delicious because Paula brought a bag to me after her trip to Key West a couple of weeks ago. Paula and Paul enjoyed meeting Henrietta and ate breakfast with her. They had a conch roll also.
Because a father made a little girl stay inside and help her mama instead of making her pull weeds and work in the hot dusty fields, Henrietta has made a great name for herself in the baking industry. She specializes in goodie gift baskets, marmalades and wedding cakes. She has her own Web site,
Mama Louise taught Henrietta well how to mix and make that sour cream pound cake with love and care many years ago in that little Riceboro kitchen!  That pound cake is her number one seller at $27 each.
With much patience and love,  a mother taught her daughter a gift that would last a lifetime and bring her pleasure and profit!
Happy Mother’s Day to each mother reading this article.
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