Evva Hanes, a North Carolina farm woman who took the century-old Moravian cookie tradition she learned by watching her mother cook on a wood stove and turned it into a business family, one that now sends millions of fragile, crispy. Moravian cookies every year, died June 22 at his home in Clemmons, NC He was 90 years old.
The cause was complications from brain cancer, according to her granddaughter, Jedidiah Hanes Templin, who is president of the Moravian Sugar Crisp Company, better known as Mrs. Hanes’ Hand-Made Moravian Cookies.
The Moravians were pre-Reformation Protestants in Eastern Europe who sought refuge from German persecution. Before the American Revolutionary War, some left for Pennsylvania, bringing with them a recipe for a heavy ginger cookie called Lebkuchen.
They continued to move, and in the mid-1700s they started a religious community on a large tract of land in North Carolina that would become the city of Winston-Salem. Southern food scholar John Egerton writes that the Moravians of North Carolina, like the Pennsylvania Dutch—whom he calls “their theological and gastronomical kin”—maintained a strong culinary tradition that dates back hundreds of years. years old.
Debbie Moose, a North Carolina cookbook author who wrote about Mrs. Hanes and other Moravian cookie bakers, remember a time when you could only find the cookie in the Winston-Salem area.
“It’s very one-of-a-kind,” he said in an interview. “You don’t see this in other parts of the state.”
Mrs. Hanes, the youngest of seven, grew up watching his mother, Bertha Foltz, make and sell hundreds of thin biscuits to supplement what little money the family’s small dairy farm brought in. recipe with molasses and warm winter spices, such as clove and ginger, which are popular at Christmas.
Mrs. Foltz began baking a crispy vanilla-scented version as a way to differentiate himself and extend sales time. At the age of 8, Evva can cook it herself. At the age of 20, he took over his mother’s business and slowly began to expand it, selling the original sugar crisps as well as the traditional ginger version but later other flavors, such as lemon and black walnut.
By 2010, cookies were so popular that Oprah Winfrey added them to her list of “favorite things”. “It wouldn’t be Christmas if Quincy Jones didn’t send me cookies from Mrs. Hanes,” he wrote in his magazine.
The biscuits are still rolled, cut and packed by hand, with around 10 million a year sold to locals – who flock to the company’s small factory, next to the family home, to pick up a few cans – as well as a strong list. to national and international customers.
“I can make 100 pounds of cookies in eight hours if someone cooks, and I don’t stop at anything,” said Mrs. Hanes in a recent oral history produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance. “I’m a time-and-motion expert, I think, because I don’t make any unnecessary moves.”
Evva Caroline Foltz was born on Nov. 7, 1932, in Clemmons, a suburb of Winston-Salem, to Alva and Bertha (Crouch) Foltz, descendants of Pennsylvania Moravian colonists. A shy, freckled redhead with a strong work ethic and a natural athlete, Evva is a high school basketball star who is recruited to work inspecting nylons at the Hanes Hosiery Mill ( no relation), partly so he could play company basketball. team.
“I’m still good at basketball,” he wrote in a 2017 holiday letter to customers. He wrote the letters every year until 2022, when he finished his autobiography, “What More Can I Ask,” which he self-published this year.
In 1998, she published a 600-recipe cookbook, “Supper’s at Six and We’re Not Waiting,” based on the dishes she would make for the large dinners she cooked almost every week.
The family cookie business was still a small kitchen business when she married Travis Hanes, a salesman for a gum and candy company, on June 13, 1952. The two met in the eighth grade, and she his girlfriend since.
“I know she’s looking for a husband,” Mr. Hanes said in a 2019 video for Our State magazine. “I didn’t know he was looking for a future employee. He got both.”
Together they grew the business, appearing at trade shows, state fairs and anywhere else they thought they might find customers. By 1970, the business had grown so much that they built a bakery next to the family home.
“We are tired of waking up every morning to the smell of cookies,” said Mrs. Oral history skills. They later increased it seven times, relying on a long-time cooking crew of mostly women who learned the craft at the hand of the master.
In addition to his grandson, Jedidiah, Mrs. Hanes is survived by her husband; their four children, Ramona Hanes Templin, Caroline Hanes Fordham and Michael and Jonathan Hanes; six other grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Hanes was active in the 250-year-old Friedberg Moravian Church. The church is on the same street as the house his great-grandfather built in 1842 — where he was born, and where he died. All his children and grandchildren live nearby. Many work or work for the family business, bringing the philosophy that Mrs. Hanes:
“We make everything we can and sell everything we can and every year we make a few more.”