Around the Nation
by Tom Van Dusen
OK… let’s just put this up front! I know many of you won’t believe it, but I have a painful — yet delicious — addiction.
No… it’s not to cigarettes, or beer, or booze, or crack cocaine, or opioids! My crack is butter tarts, creamy, gooey, sugar-packed, raisin or walnut-decorated butter tarts!
I never met a butter tart I didn’t covet and quickly consume… and then another and another! From the mass-produced tarts available at, say, Giant Tiger, to the hand-crafted delicacies you get in finer bake shops… I snarfed them all!
I’ve written columns in the past about my weakness, to the point that little Finch temptress Leanne Acres-Hanna made up a plate of tarts and, snickering, handed them to me at a farm meeting. They were gone before I got home… to Russell, 25 minutes away.
But I was told I had to quit cold turkey! Doctor’s order! A high blood sugar count had to be curbed! So I mustered up every ounce of resolve — most of which I didn’t know I had — and pushed aside butter tarts for what I hoped was forever.
Then Sherry Mowat went and added bacon to her butter tarts!
Bacon! My second favourite thing! Everybody’s second favourite thing! I have two packages of the discount GT bacon in my fridge right now!
How could you Sherry! I went into her store in Williamsburg twice this week, where I spotted among the six butter tart flavours — plain, raisin, walnut, pecan, chocolate chip — maple bacon which I learned later are made with pure local syrup.
They’re available individually or in six-packs. There’s a table covered with them. Sherry makes and sells out five dozen tarts every day, including to one guy who gets a pack a week and slips them under the truck seat where the wife can’t spot them and give him hell for bad dietary choices! Sounds like something I’d do if I had a wife!
As I admired the tarts, I felt the old twitching coming on! I walked away from the tart table but went back for another look! That was my downfall!
She also sells 75-100 pies a week, fruit and cream, along with many other selections from her full bakery. She offers gas out front, an LCBO outlet, cigarettes, groceries, lottery tickets, full meals to go. It’s a one-stop shop opened about six years ago, attracting 500-600 customers a day even in Covid times served by a baker’s dozen of staff including her.
As I admired the tarts, I felt the old twitching coming on! I walked away from the tart table but went back for another look! That was my downfall! Bacon and that sweet, buttery filling in one handy tart! How could I resist! I snapped one up, rushed to the counter, and added it to my gas bill.
I unwrapped the tart as I lurched to the car, barely remembering I had a mask on before shoving it into my mouth. Ummmm! And guess what people? I happened to be in the neighbourhood so went back the next day and got another bacon butter tart! My only solace came from knowing I didn’t get the six-pack to hide under my seat.
Originally from Ottawa suburb Barrhaven, Sherry, who previously operated a butcher shop in South Mountain and a general store similar to the one she has now in Heckston, listened to my sob story about being a tart addict trying to reform. She knows there are many of us… she sees them skittishly slink into her Williamsburg store every day.
She didn’t have to say it. It’s up to us to keep our urges under control and perhaps form a self-help group… Tarts Anonymous! She’ll always be there for us with six flavours of butter tarts when we feel we deserve a little reward for our efforts to kick the habit.
Right now though, Sherry has bigger fish to fry. She’s in the process of acquiring the former Williamsburg Township municipal building beside her existing location and isn’t sure what to do with it. She’ll get extra parking which she can use… but what about the hall itself?
Perhaps a bigger bakery producing more butter tarts in an ever growing list of flavours? Noooooo!