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Barbara and I were chatting about cream puffs and eclairs and maple bars tonight and the whole topic evoked a childhood food memory for me of the Helm’s Bakery. As a young child growing up in southern California, the Helm’s Bakery truck and his ‘toot toot’ horn were as familiar as the ice cream man and his music. He was the pied piper of pastries, we would follow him anywhere and sometimes did. He had long pull out drawers full of eclairs, maple bars – real pastries, donuts, cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, fresh baked breads sometimes still warm from the oven… He catered to the SAHMs or ‘housewives’ of yesteryear before supermarkets at a time when the family car had been driven to work by dad. Shortly after I remember him appearing in our neighborhood he was gone.
I decided to do a little research and was surprised to find they had gone out of business just shortly after I discovered them as a young girl, but more importantly had been the bread supplier to the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, created an athletic hall of fame in 1936 that became a model for many of today’s hall of fames and even supplied bread to the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
I went on about their maple bars for so long Barbara has now challenged me to recreate their recipe. I’m no pastry chef, but welcome the challenge. I can taste them and smell them already.
O Boy This is out of site lol will now it is…. I Remember my mother needing bread and that meant that me and my sister can get something from the helms man.He would even give my mother credit! Or when my mother would need cigs we would hear the toot toot or the bell and I loved there Cream Puffs!! And he would open the next shelf and there would be all kinds of candy! lmbo now! wish my kids knew what it was to get a snack like that and had to earn it, like mow the lawn or take out the trash and didn’t have to be told! i would have to save up my allowance 50 cents a week. some of us didn’t have dads around so my mom had to be the dad and mom. thank god for my mom. i was raise in east los angeles where most of us didn’t have what other families had. kids should be thankful for what they have now days, some take so much for grantted. we do have a ice cream truck that comes where i live now and i taught my grandsons
that if you help me you can stop the ice cream man and to make sure you get your change back and you wait until he is in front of the house. seems like yesterday when i stopped the helms bakery Man lol . THANKS FOR THEM DAYS SMOOT..
We lived on Flaxton Street in Culver City, and not only did we have an ice cream man who sold us those frozen cherry and pineapple Big Sticks, there was the Helms Man in his little truck. I loved the Helms Bakery sourdough bread best of all.Toasted with lots of butter. I recall going on a field trip to the bakery and each child getting a little loaf of bread! Divine.
Who can forget Helms Bakery — I don’t think anyone who have ever tasted their delicious cream puffs can — I miss them — never tasted a cream puff that was better — come back!
One of my all-time favorite memories of my youth was waiting for the Helm’s truck. Those glazed donuts and the creme puffs… ah. A couple of years ago, my work had a dinner celebration (for us old-timers) at the Petersen Automotive Museum (on the L.A. Miracle Mile). And lo and behold, there’s a Helm’s Bakery truck right there! A guess there’s reason my wife says I have the nostalgia gene ;-). Thanks for this post and the trip down memory lane.
I remember the Helm’s bakery and the delivery truck that drove through the neighborhood weekly ;–)
Sorry I’ve fallen behind. I’m hoping to catch up, but lately I’ve just not been at home much to log on to my computer. I’m not complaining … just letting ya know what’s up. Life is good! Yesterday at Small Reflections, I shared photos of the lovely RAINBOW that greeted me Monday morning. ;–)
Hugs and blessings,
Hi Tamy! I haven’t heard of Helms, but maple bars sound wonderful! I can’t wait to see yours!
Oh man… this is one of my very favorite childhood memories. When the Helms Bakery truck came down the street all was right with the world. I loved those long wooden drawers full of baked goodness.
Thanks for the walk down memory lane…
oh wait… but I wanted the eclairs 😉 I suppose I can let you can start with the Maple Bars… How generous of me, right 😉
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