Amtrak puts Columbus woman's cheesecakes on menu

By Staff
MISSISSIPPI CHEESECAKE Tammy Craddock of Columbus shows a few of her famous cheesecakes. Craddock's cheesecakes will be offered on the Amtrak national menu beginning in May.Submitted photo
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
March 11, 2002
Tammy Craddock of Columbus was just like many other stay-at-home moms: she cooked for her family, worked with the PTA and volunteered for her children's fund-raisers.
But back then, in 1983, Craddock said her passion was cooking and her specialty was baking desserts.
Eventually, she said, the demand for her breads and desserts began to grow so much that she decided to sell them. So she started her own company and began selling cheesecakes.
Today, her company, Jubilations, has been around for 14 years and offers more than 40 different flavors of cheesecake. Last month, Craddock learned her cheesecakes would be added to the national menu on Amtrak trains.
How it began
Craddock's cheesecake originally was placed on the Amtrak Crescent menu in 1997 on the recommendation of Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith. The train travels from New Orleans to New York, stopping twice a day in Meridian.
At that time, Smith was working with Amtrak's food service committee and was asked to recommend a dessert for the fabled Crescent passenger line.
But, the mayor said, Weidmann's owners didn't believe they could meet the demand and produce enough pies for the train while also running the restaurant.
Cheesecake wins fans
Smith's recommendation to the food service committee paid off. The committee selected Craddock's cheesecakes for the Crescent.
Now, after nearly five years of being served on the Crescent, Craddock's dessert will be offered on every Amtrak train in the nation.
Craddock said she was told that it will be offered on the national menu in May. Craddock will have the cakes made and then sent to New York to be served on all Amtrak trains.
Said Smith: "I just think that's great that people around the United States riding on Amtrak will be able to enjoy her cheesecakes."
Craddock's appreciation
Craddock said she's just thankful Smith recommended her dessert five years ago.
Craddock was raised on a farm in Illinois. She said she and her husband moved to Mississippi nearly 30 years ago to "raise soy beans, corn, catfish and children."
Craddock moved from her home kitchen into a production plant in 1990, where her cheesecakes are still being made today. But, she said every cheesecake is still made like it was in her kitchen in 1983 by hand.

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