London bakes Alabama’s best

This year among teenage competitors, Mary London garnered top honors for yeast bread, one of 10 bread divisions. Her blue ribbons and pewter plate are displayed in the background.

Mary London has found her knack at bread-making.

This year among teenage competitors, London garnered top honors for yeast bread, one of 10 bread divisions.

She won first place and Best of Show at the Lincoln County (Tenn.) Fair and Alabama National Fair; first place, Cullman County Fair and North Alabama State Fair; and second place, DeKalb County Fair.

London, 17, is a tenth-grade, home-school student. “Home economics allows me to experience preparing foods,” she said. For December, she is learning to Christmas cookies and candies and in January will prepare various soups.

In addition to ribbons and prize money, London received a commemorative pewter plate at the Alabama National Fair.

Sourdough yeast bread is her specialty. “Over the winter months, I plan to try my hand at pretzels, whole wheat bread and cinnamon rolls and enter the fair next year in the adult division,” London said.

She only started making bread last spring. “Yeast has an unmistakable flavor and a special aroma that makes it enjoyable to be in the kitchen,” London said.

This summer, she gave bread loaves to the Downtown Rescue Mission. Mary and her mother Joyce deliver bread three times weekly to Harrison Brothers in Huntsville.

Mary London participates in an adoption group and plays competition volleyball at church. She likes photography, babysitting and housecleaning “but only for pay.” Her dog Buster loves homemade bread.

She plans to attend Calhoun Community College and then enter the military.

“We’re very proud of all Mary has accomplished,” Joyce said. “She has overcome many obstacles and soared with hands-on learning. With her experience of preparing food for a (large) family, she could easily go into the military and cook for the troops.”

John and Joyce London have adopted nine children. “We never meant to adopt nine children, only four, but God kept bringing children into our lives. Otherwise, we would have missed out on five more blessings,” she said.

Betsy and Joshua were adopted as newborns from Texas. Mary and Sammy were born in Archangelsk in Northern Russia; Sadie and Annie in St Petersburg; and Abbie, Rusty and Rachel in Siberia.

This “special year,” the London household dropped from seven teenagers to five. Joshua and Abbie turned 20. They have the same birthday but were born on different continents.

The Londons’ routine is “pleasant chaos,” she said. “We enjoy these action-packed teenage years.”

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