Meet Liz Hawkins, aka Mama Hawk! She’s the newest addition to the MSQC family and she’s bringing out the big guns. Watch out, delicious baked goods are on their way! She’s the talent behind Mama Hawk’s Kitchen, which opens TODAY!
Here’s a little peek at what you’ll be able to find in Mama Hawk’s Kitchen! Make sure to follow Mama Hawk on Facebook to find out the menu each day!
We took a moment to chat with Liz about what led her to Hamilton, Missouri, and it’s been a delightful trip.
Tell us about your background as a quilt designer.
I’ve been a quilt designer in the industry, along with my sister-in-law, for almost 10 years. We started our journey as designers together because of our combined passion for quilting, and also because we both share the exact same name: Elizabeth Ann Hawkins! We always thought it’d be fun to go into business together.
And what did that lead to?
We started Lizzie B Cre8ive as pattern designers concentrating mostly on whimsical, bright, appliqué projects. From there we went on to publish two books with Kansas City Star. We also teach, lecture, and we just launched our 6th fabric line with Henry Glass Fabrics. It’s been a wild ride, and we’ve made many friends along the way in this wonderful industry.
So, what brought you here to Hamilton, Missouri?
One of our dear friends suggested we all meet for a quilting retreat at MSQC in September. However, I was very reluctant to go. It was already shaping up to be a very busy month for me, but you know friends—at least if they’re GOOD ones—can be very convincing. So off I went to Hamilton, Missouri for the first time ever. Just two weeks later I was back to talk about my ideas for a bakery. Then, a week after that, I was back again, renting an apartment, looking at real estate, and beginning to turn the deserted bakery into Mama Hawk’s Kitchen.
You’ve gone from quilting to baking, you’re a talented lady! When did you learn to bake?
My mom taught us all how to bake when we were kids, but I’ll be honest, I wasn’t the best cook in my family. In fact, my siblings still like to joke about some of my experiments in the kitchen, but when I got married, my husband and I moved to France and Switzerland. We lived there for 10 years and had our four children there. That’s where I learned how to cook and bake.
Why was Switzerland the ideal place to learn to cook?
Because eating out was not an option; it was too expensive. Learning to make anything American in France was a challenge—there was no such thing as anything ready-made. You had to chop chocolate if you wanted chocolate chips. You had to start with butter, flour, and milk if you wanted a cream-based soup. And you had to go to the market at least 2-3 times a week because veggies only lasted in the refrigerator a few days, like they’re supposed to.
That seems like a great opportunity to learn!
I’ve always loved a challenge, and I loved learning how to cook and bake over there with the freshest ingredients and most delicious chocolate and butter. In fact, when my brother came to visit, I heard him talking on the phone saying, “No Mom, I mean she really knows how to cook now, like, amazingly!” Then before I knew it, I was catering to other Americans in our community who missed things like bagels or muffins. I also made wedding cakes and introduced our French and Swiss friends to cheesecake—which they don’t like, by the way. Cheese shouldn’t be sweet, apparently!
What else did you pick up overseas?
I learned to bottle fruits and vegetables in the spring and summer when they’re at their freshest. We lived on our own bottled salsa and tomato sauce all winter. I was worried I’d lose this ability to bake and cook fresh food when we finally moved back to the U.S. (I’ll admit, when we were first starting our business, my kids ate a lot of Hot Pockets and frozen burritos). Taking time to make really good food for people, like I did back in France, is still something I find a lot of joy in doing.
When did you become Mama Hawk?
I lived in a funky little town in Pennsylvania called New Hope. It’s a destination town with fun shops and restaurants and I’d been talking for years about opening up a bakery there. All the kids in the community who used to come to our house would call me Mama Hawk. They loved sitting in my kitchen because it’s where I would bake yummy treats for them—that don’t come out of a box from the grocery store. My kitchen is a bit more funky than most kitchens. It’s bright turquoise with accents in red, and retro metal signs everywhere. It’s warm and welcoming, and a fun place to hang out. Whenever I baked treats for school events, the kids would ask me to put a sticker on my baked goods so they knew which ones to buy. That’s how Mama Hawk’s began!
Your kitchen sounds like the perfect place to go after a hard day of quilting! What will Mama Hawk’s be like here in Hamilton?
I want Mama Hawk’s to feel a bit like you’re coming into my kitchen at home. And just like any home kitchen, what’s on the menu that day is whatever mama feels like cooking! I’ll be serving up unique items for breakfast and lunch, along with delicious baked goods, so don’t expect the same thing each day.
That sounds amazing! What kinds of treats will you be cooking up?
For breakfast I might make hot panini sandwiches, waffles, muffins, coffee cake, cinnamon buns, and fresh donuts. Homemade soup, salad, and panini sandwiches will be offered for lunch. There will be different layer cakes each week, which you can buy by the slice, and what Mama Hawk is really known for—ginormous cookies! We’ll also be serving up specialty coffee, espresso, tea, and hot chocolate. It’s my hope that there will always be a little something for everyone who comes into my kitchen, and I’ll work hard to make it feel like home.
What do you like to do when you’re not busy in the kitchen?
Is there anything else I do besides quilt, cook, and bake? Why yes, there are many things, but I feel like they’re all part of the same family of creativity. I’ve been playing the flute since I was 8 years old and I taught Suzuki flute lessons for many years. I also play the Irish pennywhistle. I may even have these instruments in my kitchen and break out into spontaneous song if requested. Just be ready to do a jig if I do!
Is there anything you don’t do?!
In college I studied art and my focus was watercolor, which helps when it comes to designing fabric. I also love to write. I just published a book this summer for young adults called Rewind, which is the first in a series of three. But for now, I’m just excited to be in Hamilton as a part of the MSQC family! I hope you’ll all pop into my kitchen, stay awhile, and tell me your own stories. I’m looking forward to meeting you all!
Thank you so much, Liz. We can’t wait to come check out Mama Hawk’s Kitchen!
Lizzie B Cre8ive: http://www.lizziebcre8ive.com/
Liz Ann Hawkins: http://www.lizannhawkins.com/