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Paine puts family recipes to the test

(Jennifer Priest Mitchell is a freelance writer in Beaverton. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

We all have a favorite memory of something our mom or grandmom baked when we were young. Jan Paine of Tigard has those same kinds of memories. In fact, she has made many recollections of shortbread cookies and peanut butter chewies for her own children and grandchildren. For the past decade, Paine has baked and sold Momma's Gourmet Goodies, allowing others to enjoy her family recipes, some with her own unique twist.

'I baked with my own mother … I was probably about 10 years old when I started helping her. Kids started helping in the kitchen and really pitching in with chores early on back then … there wasn't that much else to do like there is now,' she reflects. 'My mom made candy or cookies as gifts and we always did just about everything together in the kitchen.'

Two of Paine's recipes that came from her mother are for oatmeal shortbread and a peanut butter cookie.

Though her own children helped her in the kitchen once they were old enough, she is happy to share that her daughter also gave her much encouragement and support in recent years as the business was formed. Paine praises her daughter for designing labels, helping with marketing and putting together web site material.

'I started Momma's Gourmet Goodies to supplement my income. I had always baked cookies and made candy as gifts, and my daughter encouraged me to start the business,' she said.

Paine also reveals that her family has served as her trusty taste-testers when she tried any new twist on the mostly traditional and family recipes used for the business. She has a select few types of cookies she bakes - too many recipes and variations make it cumbersome.

Variations of these old standbys include Paine's conversion of a favorite old drop cookie to making the dough into a roll and slicing the cookies, so they are round and flat. She has also developed a next generation of shortbread by using brown sugar for a caramel flavor, and by making yet another cookie using orange rind for a crisp taste. She adds proudly, 'All of the shortbreads come in chocolate dip, too, if that's what you like.'

While Paine sells a high volume of cookies at an annual holiday bazaar at the fairgrounds and at another event at the Convention Center, she is now selling the treats regularly in several local grocery stores, including all five Zupans and at several local Thriftway supermarkets.

While Momma's Gourmet Goodies does not have a storefront now, Paine does fulfill mail order requests and people can order ahead and pick up cookies.

Born in Kansas, Paine graduated from nursing school and moved to California when she was 21 years old. She had visited relatives in Oregon and liked the state, and later moved here after she and her husband had two children. She reports that she likes Oregon a lot.

'I love the trees and the green and the pretty scenery. It is very different from Kansas and California. The rain makes it clean.'

She also says that Oregon makes it easy for small businesses to get going, and though she had a lot to learn when she got started, she retired from her nursing career in January 2005 and is now focused on her business. She is also making time to be with her local family - a son, a daughter and three grandchildren

For more information on Momma's Gourmet Goodies, call 503-684-8301 or visit the Web site www.mommasgourmet.com.