Orange cranberry bread

One of my favorite pastimes is baking pastries, pies and bread, but I take a backseat to artisan baker John Akins, impresario of San Francisco’s Cafe Golo and AYS Foods.
Long before the Giants won the World Series, the Norfolk, VA native was hitting culinary home runs. Just this year alone, he catered the 10th annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology Symposium at Pier One and a couple of Fridays ago, brought some really delectable delicacies to the 20th anniversary of Our Roots Run Deep: the Black Experience in California at the historic Marcus Books.
At the booksigning, I would watch folks pick up a morsel, take a bite and then immediately reach for one of his cards.
On a holiday weekend of visiting friends, I’ve learned to rely on one of his greatest innovations–orange cranberry bread.
It’s so good it leaves people in shock, before they even taste it–just the sound of it.
The same can be said of Clyde Colen’s Cuzzin’ Clyde’s Cajun Smoked Turkey. When I got the text message Tuesday night that Clyde was serving this scrumptious delight at the legendary Sam Jordan’s Bar on Third Street, I made like the Pony Express on out to Bayview at 11 p.m. to get in line.
They’re among the 12,000 reasons why we do blackrestaurant.net, the first national resource for black cuisine.
While I hung out Wednesday with John Akins in the UN Plaza Farmers Market, where he’s sold his baked goods for 14 years, he gave an interview to a reporter from SFGate. When she asked the secret to his ingredients, he replied, “I just cook with love.”
The lingering taste of that affection just accentuates the concern one feels to learn that America’s banks, after having devastated black neighborhoods with sub-prime mortgages, have decreased their SBA lending to black-owned businesses by 80 percent in every region of the country, as reported by blackmoney.com.
The banks got bailed out by the taxpayers, and have shown next to no concern about the rest of the economy.
It is a problem for all small businesses, as overall SBA lending is down a third.
For black communities suffering the highest rates of unemployment, lending to businesses that are expanding and building market share like Cafe Golo and Sam Jordans is critical to creating new jobs.
Let’s hope the banks get an infusion of holiday spirit and show thanks to the taxpayers who saved them.

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