Seasonal Sweet Treats
Local Business Owner Celebrates Heritage In Her Work
Lori Buchanan’s Polish heritage is of great importance to her. Her grandparents lived during the Great Depression, a time when a use was found for everything and nothing was thrown away. Her maternal grandmother raised her children alone after losing their father in WWII. Her father’s father was a jeweler and a plumber. His wife was a seamstress and made dance costumes. The couple danced at the local fair.
Buchanan’s grandparents would be proud of their granddaughter’s work ethic and of her motto “Work hard and go to bed tired.”
She attended Public School 6 while growing up in Dunkirk. Catholic religious instruction was taught at the school, where the Polish language was spoken and Polish songs were sung.
She met her husband, Robert C. Buchanan, when she was attending Jamestown Community College. They both retired from the City of Jamestown Police Department and are now employed by the school system.
Buchanan has run her business Memory Lane Country Shop since 2004, when she opened on Route 394 between Ashville and Stow. After leasing a space for 15 years, she purchased a building at 1422 Peck Settlement Road (Route 380) in late 2019.
Her new location is closer to the couple’s home and has allowed her to grow. The brick building is the last standing trolley station for the Warren-Jamestown Railroad and was later used by the Town of Kiantone Fire Department. With help from her parents, the interior was refreshed.
“I do everything, housework, sewing, construction. I dabble with everything,” she says.
Her husband’s labor went into the outside projects, such as cutting down trees, pulling out bushes and making a parking lot.
“The tedious type of stuff,” the wife says.
The upper level is a fully-inclusive corporate rental, for both long and short-term stays. Memory Lane Country Shop occupies the lower level.
“This is a different venue from when we were on the lake. We don’t have the lake-type gifts,” she points out. “We cater to the local consumer, going above and beyond. I am always open to suggestions that’ll fit for this area.”
She sells natural cleaning products and bug sprays, home decor, furniture and housewares.
“We sell a lot of lamps and towels. You may not want to buy large things for the home, but you can change out towels, lamps, pillows, kitchenware, mugs and candle rings with the seasons.”
Gifts, too many to list, some of which are locally-made, are also stocked, including gifts for pet-lovers, quirky socks, vegan bar soaps, a large variety of soy candles and assorted reusable bags.
“I carry gourmet foods seasonally, so they aren’t sitting around. I rotate sweet treats and sometimes have fudge, chocolate-covered cashews and almonds and sponge candy.”
Her Rabbit Creek products, mixes that are made with homegrown herbs, “go faster than hotcakes.” Another hot seller is Johnnie Ryan Soda, which has been made near Niagara Falls since 1935 and is bottled in glass. The soda that is made with natural cane sugar comes in a variety of flavors, including creme soda, birch beer, ginger ale, black cherry and root beer.
“Many customers from the former location are coming. The support has been phenomenal. We can’t do it without them and we appreciate them,” she says.
It is important to her that her customers always find new items waiting for them.
“I don’t want someone to come in and think ‘it’s the same old things from last time.”
Aside from sales, she refurbishes furniture in her spare time and is willing to do furniture refinishing for customers when time allows.
She sells Fusion Mineral Paint which she claims is self-leveling to fill in imperfections and has a built-in topcoat. It has very little odor, is safe to use indoors and has zero volatile organic compounds (VOC).
“I come from a family where when it’s broken, you fix it. There wasn’t a budget to go buy it. My family did it before it was a thing.”
She finds painting furniture relaxing and admits she enjoys doing laundry and the relief of seeing the chores completed after a hard day’s work. Her priorities are her husband, family, friends and her animals. The Buchanans enjoy hiking and being out in the fresh air and also entertaining. They have been hosting her family’s annual reunions, since they have moved to their current home.
“I’m not a TV person. In my spare time I want to enjoy quiet and people.”
She likes “anything active” and likes to play sports but not be a spectator. She hopes to have a farm with animals for pleasure, not food, when she is working less. In the meantime, she is happy with her dogs and cats.
She learned to cook at her mother’s and grandmother’s side. Today, she shares many of her family’s recipes.
“We still do traditional Polish recipes. We grew up with coffee and coffee cake after meals, but we like all sweets,” she says referring to the Easy Buttermilk Coffee Cake recipe.
When she gets together with extended family for holidays, they celebrate with the traditional Polish food she has had throughout her lifetime. Since she is 100 percent Polish, both sides of her family ate the same food for every holiday.
“The Polish Easter Soup is so good. So good, but it is an acquired taste, because it has a vinegar base.”
The ladies of her family took turns making pierogi for Christmas. Her family made sauerkraut pierogi because it was a favorite of a late uncle, but cheese pierogi was the most popular with the rest of the family. They had pickled herring and her uncles smoked fish. Ham was served cold.
“We don’t bake it again.”
Memory Lane is open year-round, with extended summer hours. Current hours are Thursday and Friday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday 11a.m.-5 p.m. The owner states she is not sure when extended hours will begin or what they will be as she is still making that determination.
2 sticks margarine
1 large sour cream
8 c flour
Cream together margarine, eggs and sour cream. Add flour and mix to consistency of cut out cookie dough. Roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut in 3-inch circles. Use for the filling:
1 1/2 lb farmer’s cheese
1 T sugar, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix together cheese, eggs, sugar, salt and pepper. Spoon filling into middle of dough circles. Fold over and crimp edges to seal, using a fork that is a little wet to prevent sticking. Drop into boiling water until they float to the top. Remove from water with a slotted spoon. Place in a frying pan with sauted butter and onions. Makes 4 dozen.
Polish stuffed cabbage
2 lbs ground beef
1 large green cabbage, cored
1 c cooked rice
1 large green pepper, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 23.2 oz can of tomato soup
Put cabbage in deep pot. Fill with enough water to cover cabbage and bring to a boil. Boil until leaves get soft enough to roll. Drain and set aside. Cook beef with green pepper. Drain off grease and mix meat with cooked rice. Place mixture on cabbage leaf and roll as tight as you can, folding sides in to keep meat from falling out. Place 1 cup of water in pressure cooker, add golabki, cover with tomato soup and cook for 20-25 minutes.
POLISH DILL PICKLES
1 qt white vinegar
3 qts water
1 c pickling salt
Bring vinegar, water and salt to boil, and then turn off heat. In a gallon jar, put 2 heads of dill and 2 cloves of garlic and then pack cucumbers. When approximately 1/2 full, add 2 more dill heads and 2-3 more garlic cloves. Pour in hot brine to cover. Will be ready to eat in 3-4 days must be kept refrigerated. Makes 1 gallon.
Polish Easter Soup
approx 2 lbs uncooked Polish sausage
1 c white vinegar
Horseradish, to taste
1/2 pt heavy cream
Cottage cheese, optional
6-12 hard boiled/sliced eggs
approx 5 small cans sliced mushrooms
1 pkg (approx 2 lbs) red sausage (kielbasa)
approx 2 lbs smoked ham, thick sliced pieces or chunks
Easter soup base (needs hard boiled eggs). In large pot, add 8 cups cold water and just the raw Polish sausage. Boil 1 1/2 hours. Remove sausage. Slice. Strain water, cool and skim off fat. Add sliced sausage. Boil for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add 4 tablespoons horseradish or desired amount. Wait 30 minutes then add cream, mushrooms, 1/2 sliced hardboiled eggs and cottage cheese to taste. Do not boil, as cream will curdle. Continue as follows for Easter Soup:
Bake kielbasa in 2 inches of water at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Slice. For Easter Soup, put sliced hardboiled eggs, ham, horseradish, sliced Polish sausage, sliced Polish kielbasa and cottage cheese in large bowl. Warm soup base and add to bowl to cover and enjoy. If not eating on the same day as cooking, you can heat all your ingredients and mix-ins in a pot on the stove. Do not bring to a boil, as cream will curdle.
LAZY MAN’S PIEROGI
1 lb spiral noodles, cooked
1 lb sauerkraut
1 small can mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
2 T butter
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Cook sauerkraut in frying pan with juice until it turns darker. Saute mushrooms with onion in butter. Mix cooked noodles, sauerkraut and onion-mushroom mixture with soup. Bake uncovered 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c shortening
4 c flour
1/2 tsp soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 c buttermilk
3/4 c white raisins
Beat sugar, shortening and eggs until fluffy. Sift together flour, soda, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture with buttermilk. Combine. Fold in raisins. Put into 2 greased loaf pans.
Use for the topping:
1/2 c melted butter
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Combine topping ingredients. Spread over dough mixture and then bake 60 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 2 loaves