In 1945, Ann Sather plunked down savings earned at a Chicago meat-packing plant to buy an already-existing Swedish diner. Although of Norwegian heritage, Ann kept the Swedish menu to please loyal guests in the then-heavily-Swedish neighborhood which came to be known as Chicago’s Andersonville. Competition was fierce: Ann’s block had seven (!) Swedish restaurants operating when she stepped in. One by one, those closed, but Ann held on, working the restaurant for 30 years before selling to Tom Tunney, 44th Ward Alderman and the man responsible for growing Ann Sather’s to a three-unit operation now legendary for its cinnamon buns and breakfasts. According to Tunney, Ann’s cinnamon-spiced carrot bread
was originally included with the bread basket, but is now baked and served as a specialty bread. It’s one of several homey favorites perfect for picnic packing, that were included in the restaurant’s 50th anniversary cookbook, published in 1994.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 1/4 tsp each of baking soda & cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups oil
- 4 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups (about 1 small bunch) fresh carrots, trimmed of their tops, peeled and grated
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350. In a medium-sized bowl, sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugar and oil together on low speed; add eggs and continue beating until incorporated. Increase speed to medium high and whip until light and fluffy.
- Alternately stir dry ingredients and grated carrot into mixture, just until no flour streaks remain.
- Fold in walnuts.
- Divide batter into two parchment-lined or well-greased loaf pans. (Ann poured them into greased pans; we like using parchment, which means you can more-easily slip the loaves out and there’s no added fat.) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Unmold. Serve warm–especially nice with a little whipped honey butter, or slightly-sweetened whipped cream cheese.