Mercy Tremble began selling homemade monkey bread at her church in Los Angeles years ago for fundraising purposes, recalls her grandaughter, Patricia Griffith. And it didn’t take long for the entire congregation to become addicted. Today, Griffith is continuing her grandmother’s legacy and introducing a whole new generation in the San Francisco Bay area to Southern delicacies through her company, Southern Oven Foods. Her foods are especially in demand this time of year for Kwanzaa, the African-American holiday that culminates in a final feast called karumu.
The eggy, semisweet pull-apart monkey bread played a role in Griffith’s own entrepreneurial journey, which began in 2002 when she was looking for a career where she could stay home with her two young daughters, Bianca and Danielle. She began selling monkey bread at local farmers’ markets and then was invited to sell her bread and pies at local grocery stores.
With the support of her husband, Bill, a firefighter, who has been known to pitch in with bakery deliveries on his days off, Griffith now sells 50,000 desserts monthly at more than 100 stores and online at southernoven.com “With my baking, I want to recapture that cozy feeling that comes when you sit down to eat a home-cooked meal with your loved ones,” Griffith says. “The secret ingredient in all my recipes is they are made with love.”
By Linda Childers, a food writerin Martinez, Calif.