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This Day in Norwood History-January 14, 1944-Gertrude’s Pastry Shop Subject of Article In General Mills Trade Paper

Gertrude’s Pastry

Gertrude’s Pastry Shop, Norwood, is accorded front page space in the January 10th copy of “The Vitality News” published by the Products Control Department of General Mills, Inc. In a story headlined, “Skepticism Turns to Enthusiasm as Women Master Difficult Tasks”, the experience of the local shop in training women bakers is reported. Accompanying the story is a picture of women working in Gertrude’s kitchen.

The story reads:

“To begin with, Mr. Rudolph Stefdingcd, self-styled baker of the “old school.” who operates Gertrude’s Pastry Shop in Norwood, Mass., was skeptical about hiring women in his shop. Now he’s convinced women bakers are a “natural” for any bakery. What’s more, he’s solved his manpower problems

“It all started when Stcidingcr began to lose bakers early in the war. For that matter, his shop- noted in the Norwood section of Boston for oven-fresh pastries and delicious breads—was faced with the possibility of going out of business unless something was done, but quick -Which meant hiring women.

“A woman was .taken on as a dishwasher and pan scraper. This enterprising lady showed herself to be more than capable, and one day when the cake frosting was behind schedule, she took over. With a reasonable amount of instruction she soon mastered the job. Having proved she could handle the work, this woman was put through a full apprenticeship on the mixer, oven and frosting benches, now as a full-fledged baker.

“This was so interesting and so encouraging, other housewives applied for work Today four women work in Steidingcr’s shop. Work- hours are virtually set up for their convenience, from 8 in the morning to 4-30 in the afternoon. Or, as one woman put it, “After breakfast and before supper hours.”

“Steidingcr plans to keep his women employees on the job even after the war because he feels they fit in naturally for bakery work. He also said, “I have a job for the man returning from the service and the women that wish to stay on because I am confident the baker will be more firmly established in the American way of life after the war than we could ever have hoped previous to the war.”

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