hen three generations of the Veach family gather in one kitchen, excess flour spills onto the counter, dirty bowls begin to pile up, sweet aromas waft through the air and distinct cooking styles flow together. Family matriarch Dorothy Veach specializes in yeast breads and is known for her cinnamon and dinner rolls. For years she filled holiday orders for friends, and she continues to bake cream pies for potluck dinners held at the housing complex where she resides. “They’re gone about as soon as I put them out,” she says. Her son, John, always appreciated his mom’s culinary skills, but it wasn’t until he was living in a college apartment that he began to experiment in the kitchen. “I liked to eat, so I learned to cook and bake,” he says. While Dorothy has a precise baking style that tends to follow written recipes, John admits he’d rather make up his own directions than follow those in a book. John’s daughter, Sarah, takes her inspiration in the kitchen from her grandmother. Sarah remembers helping make apple doughnuts and cinnamon rolls as a child. “She was so young that about halfway through a recipe, she’d be ready to move onto something else,” Dorothy recalls. By age 8, Sarah had moved on to deviled eggs. “I cut the cooked eggs in half crosswise instead of lengthwise just because I didn’t know any better,” she explains. By the time Sarah realized her mistake, she decided she preferred that unique method despite mild protests from some family members. Although she doesn’t mention any names, Sarah does give her dad a knowing look as she shares that particular story. As the trio work together to create one of the family’s favorite pies, John and Dorothy compare methodology. As he easily manhandles the rolled dough, picking it up in his hands and laying it in the pie crust, Dorothy notes, “I fold my dough in half after rolling, and then unfold it as I lay it inside the pie pan.” John adds, “Another difference is that she understands the chemistry of baking and how different ingredients affect the end result. I just throw things together, and as long as it turns out good I’m happy.” One particularly happy occasion occurred in 2013, when John entered and won first place in the special baking division at Abilene’s Central Kansas Free Fair. He credits his victory, in part, to a mistake. When mixing up the frosting, he ran out of vanilla, so he grabbed another bottle. “I didn’t realize until too late that it Sunflower living winter 2015
A trio of Veach-family generations shares recipes, tips, kitchen mishaps and a slice of the pie
Photography by Lisa Eastman
Come in Threes
Story by Meta Newell West
The Best Bakings
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