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Yes, There Really is an Anne!

A Cook Is Born!

I’m Mildred Anne Briley Grimes, but everyone calls me Anne. God’s divine providence placed me on this earth scarcely two months after the famous attack at Pearl Harbor. I have always heard that the rich are born with silver spoons in their mouths, but I was born with a spoon in one hand and a pot in the other. We weren’t rich, but life in my family was good—especially when it came to fun and food! What an exciting time to grow up with so many interesting things to do outdoors, and such holidays to remember! Afterall, Christmas without special foods would be like Santa without his beard!

In 1950, the Betty Crocker Cookbook showed up at our house and blew my socks off! It was like the Sears Roebuck Catalog—you wanted one of everything! After I sold my first cake to a neighbor who was having a birthday, a light bulb went off in my head. So at the age of nine, my first business began! I charged $3 for a three-layer, nine-inch cake and offered five varieties. One of my customers would call repeatedly, inquiring when her cake would be ready because she wanted it delivered while it was still warm. After I quit baking cakes, she still wanted one when I had the time. Loyal customers are a blessing!

The Love of My Life

The summer I was 15 and back helping Daddy at the dairy bar. I met a young man, a bit older, who would come in with his pig-tailed sister, usually to get a milkshake if he had the money, or just to talk if he didn’t. He asked me to write him when he went off to college, but I thought he was joking. One Saturday he showed up home from college and I told him he should come to supper. I’ll just say that if a first date could be a fiasco, this was it. (There’s way too much to include here, so you’ll have to read more about it in my cookbook, Dumplings and More, which includes lots of interesting stories about my life, as well as recipes galore!)

Anyway, that young man was Bryan Grimes, and it was the beginning of our courtship. He was a freshman at the University of North Carolina and I was a sophomore in high school. By the time I was a senior, I knew I was in love for the rest of my life, and I entered that year of school engaged. Although I had scholarship offers from Duke, UNC, East Carolina and Cornell, my heart ruled and I set out for UNC pharmacy school. Pharmacy had to be somewhat like cooking, right?

Without a lot of forethought, we eloped in a borrowed car and were married on January 18, 1961 at the First Baptist Church in Hillsborough, NC. After we hurried to get the car back, we went down to the Rathskeller on Franklin Street to celebrate with a rare roast beef sandwich and a mug of iced tea. Then we both went back to our dorms to study because exams started the next day!

Called to Make Dumplings

Well, I could fill all of this space telling you about the love of my life and our life together, but I know you want to hear about how I started making dumplings, so I’ll just jump to it. It’s all a God thing, really, just like the rest of my life has been. I had opened a bakery called the Rolling Pin and was making everything—except dumplings—and wondering what else God had in mind for me. To make a long story short, two old ladies (angels?!) challenged me, insisting I didn’t know how to make dumplings. Well, that was it! A short time later, I quit making pies cakes and doughnuts and closed-up shop, making dumplings exclusively from home in our carport/inspected-bakery. It was the beginning of a commission from God to feed physically and spiritually. We named our company Harvest Time Foods and included a scripture and a number to call for prayer in every box.

From that time forward, the company has continued to grow—supernaturally. Sadly, my husband passed in 2006, but our son, Bryan III, took over the role of President. He along with his wife, Windy, are doing a tremendous job of running the organization. Through the years, we’ve kept on growing thanks to the Lord and the incredible testimony from you, our customers.

Thankful for the Journey

As for me, this has been the most exciting journey! Who’d ever thought I’d be traveling around cooking for people, meeting celebrities, and having so much fun? All the time doing something I love! Truly, it is a blessing from the Lord and I am thankful. And to think it all started from two little old ladies telling me I couldn’t make dumplings!

Besides pastry, dumplings and other good food, another love of mine is God’s creation. Capturing it in photography is a passion of mine and many of my pictures are in the Photo Gallery for you to enjoy. There’s still more to tell but I am out of space! If you enjoyed this and want to read more, you can find all the fun stories of my life in my cookbook Dumplings and More. Order one and I will send you a signed copy!