Probably the most famous things made at Jaarsma Bakery are Dutch letters – giant-size pastries in the form of the letter S. They’re swell, and no one should visit Pella without eating at least a monogram; but Dutch letters are only a hint of the glories to be found on Jaarsma’s shelves. To the left as you enter are racks of sunny-yellow angel food cakes made into circles and loaves. To the right are cases filled with dozens of beautiful pastries, many with such enchanting names as krackelings, goat’s legs, almond bankets, and figure 8s.
Above the pastries on the top shelf are two kinds of bread, both of which are irresistible. One is apple bread, a gnarled loaf with a frosted top. It is more pastry-like than bread-like — something Paul Bunyan might have with his morning cup of coffee. The other favorite is cinnamon bread – a soft, swirled loaf with veins of moist cinnamon sugar folded inside. Civilized persons buy these loaves, take them home, and use a knife to slice them. We buy one of each, hit the road, and tear at them in the front seat like hungry wolverines.