Millie Ray’s Rolls are a staple in many of our homes, especially around the holidays. A Birmingham native, Millie has been bringing her handcrafted rolls to the table since 1979. Today, Millie Ray’s rolls are served in several restaurants and are available in retail locations throughout the Southeast. Meet the lady behind those sweet, delicious rolls! Welcome, Millie!
When did you first discover your passion for baking?
My grandmother was a great “old-fashioned cook,” and as a young girl, I loved helping her when she would make her delicious blueberry cobbler and chicken pot pie. She always cooked from scratch.
Tell us about the biggest roadblock you have had to overcome.
I am one who wants to do everything myself without any help. It took me a while — with encouragement from my sons, Ben and Ryan — to let go enough to teach others how I make the rolls, which frees me up to develop other products and market the products.
Did you have mentors along the way?
I would have to say my parents.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?
Getting together with family and cooking traditional holiday meals. We have three grandchildren now, and it is so much fun to be with them and create new traditions.
What books are on your beside table?
My Day-by-Day Devotional Journal and a Danielle Steel novel
Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
During the fall, watch football!
Favorite local restaurant?
Do you have a favorite cooking memory or kitchen disaster story you would like to share?
Many years ago, when I was living with my younger brother and cousin, I had made my famous potato salad and I garnished it with cayenne pepper instead of paprika. Needless to say, everyone started drinking a lot of water. We still laugh about it today.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
First, my mother, who is 95, told me that the best thing to have in your kitchen is hot water and sharp knives, and believe me, she still has it, and I do, too! And second, my daddy used to tell me that 75 percent of the things I worried about would never happen. I always think of him when I start to worry.
What upcoming local event are you most looking forward to?
We just finished up the Moss Rock Preserve Festival and the Junior League Market Noel, which are two of my favorites. We will be in the Birmingham area doing local store demos this year. If you see us, be sure and stop and say hello, and have a sample!
When you are not in the kitchen cooking, what is your favorite thing to do to relax?
Curl up with a good book. I love to read!
Do you have any personality quirks or irrational fears?
Working with my two sons, I have to remember that they are grown men, and I don’t have to tell them what to do. I am so proud of them and what they have accomplished.
If your house was on fire, what nonliving thing would you grab?
I would grab my cookbook notebook and family photos.
Name three things light-hearted things you can’t live without?
Ketchup, a pillow and a good book!
Thank you, Millie!
All photos on today’s post were submitted by Millie Ray’s Rolls.