Rural Norwalk resident pays tribute to her mother-in-law with Christmas bread recipe

The influence of the late Frances Bauer, of rural Norwalk, was so strong that Charlene Bauer uses her mother-in-law's recipe for Christmas bread to this day. "She would make it in cans to make it look like candles,' Charlene Bauer said. "It was one my children always liked.'
Cary Ashby
Jul 25, 2010

The influence of the late Frances Bauer, of rural Norwalk, was so strong that Charlene Bauer uses her mother-in-law’s recipe for Christmas bread to this day.

“She would make it in cans to make it look like candles,” Charlene Bauer said. “It was one my children always liked.”

Frances Bauer used to make the bread for gifts. Her daughter-in-law said the recipe reminds her of Christmas because of the frosting and cherries on top.

“It’s basically nut bread,” Charlene Bauer said.

For Christmas, she makes a lot of appetizers.

“We just feast on finger foods,” she added.

Bauer credits her mother-in-law with “domesticating” her “to a certain degree” when she married Roy.

“She basically taught me how to cook. She was appalled I didn’t know how to cook,” Bauer recalled. “She used to live next door to us.

“I will never aspire to be as good a cook as she was. Everybody thought she was the best cook in the world … so she was a great teacher,” she said.

Maybe that’s why the April 22, 1979 edition of the Sandusky Register featured Frances Bauer and two of her recipes, soft sugar cookies and raisin casserole bread. The photographer tried them and called them delicious.

Charlene Bauer, 61, has been a teacher/librarian at St. Paul High School for the last 30 years. She also is a student council adviser and serves as a Eucharistic minister at St. Paul Catholic Church in Norwalk and St. Joseph Catholic Church in Monroeville.

Some of her hobbies include antiques and traveling.

“I love to read. I love to visit with my grandkids,” Bauer said.

She and Roy have three grown children and eight grandchildren. Bauer believes the youngest — her only granddaughter — rules the roost.

“And she keeps her brothers and cousins in line. She rules at almost 6,” she said.

When cooking or baking, Bauer always has vanilla, maraschino cherries, butter, frosting and nuts at hand. She most often fixes seafood, steaks, chicken, hamburgers on the grill and homemade pizza.

“We usually have a stock of hamburgers in the freezer we can whip out,” she said.

Bauer said her husband considered her most recent recipe — pensacola shrimp — a disaster, telling her never to make it again. She makes notes on recipes her cookbooks to indicate what worked and what didn’t.

She recommends new cooks read a lot of cookbooks and select things they want to try. That way, Bauer said, people can tell you what to never do again.