Cooking with Joy

Cooking with Joy: ATO Bread

March 11, 2014 

My husband, Marvin, grew up as an only child in a lower income family. They definitely didn’t have enough money to send him to college.

Marvin stood out as an excellent student in high school. His French teacher, Madame Falwell, was determined that he deserved a chance to go to college. She felt so strongly about this she wrote an impassioned letter to the president of the University of Virginia, insisting that Marvin be admitted and offered a scholarship.

Not only was he admitted, he was also given a full scholarship. He had to earn his own spending money, however. Here’s where things got interesting. One summer he worked as a bank teller and the following summer he worked as a clerk at an ABC store. Both of these jobs provided him with some of the money he needed, and some unique experiences.

Marvin’s other job was the most memorable, however. He was a member of the ATO fraternity and ran the concession management during his third and fourth years at school. What this actually means is he ran the bar. He and another fraternity brother, Jim Noland, bought beer for 18 cents a can and sold it for 25 cents. Sheer volume made this a profitable business and covered his college expenses.

Marvin and Jim learned valuable lessons about running the bar. Never buy Old Milwaukee beer. The guys refused to drink it. Always buy Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. There was never any left over. It was the gold standard by which all other beers were judged.

Marvin became a businessman and Jim became a Methodist minister, but for two years these guys were extraordinary beer salesmen.

I remember those days well since I was dating Marvin at the time. Every time I drink a PBR I’m reminded of good times at the ATO house seeing Marvin behind the bar, listening to the bands that played the classic rock and roll music of the ’60s, and hanging around with his fraternity brothers.

Moving forward to the present, I went to a dinner party where everybody brought a dish to share. One guest brought a warm loaf of buttered beer bread that was great. I was enjoying it when I had a stroke of genius – what if I made this bread and used PBR as the beer? It would then be ATO bread!

I’m not much of a baker but decided to make an exception in this case. The bread turned out great. It’s especially delicious when paired with songs like “Shout,” “My Girl” and “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love.” From the ATO house to yours, I give you beer bread. You’re going to love it – especially if you’ve got a nice cold glass of PBR handy.

Joy Smith is a resident of Fort Mill. Contact her at

ATO Bread *

3 cups self-rising flour

3 T. sugar

1 egg (room temperature)

1 12 oz. PBR beer (room temperature)

¼ cup melted butter

Mix flour and sugar together. Beat egg and beer together in a large bowl. Add flour and sugar into the beer mixture and stir until the two are combined.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Brush crust with butter five minutes before it is done. Serve warm.

* This bread isn’t pretty like traditional loaves but don’t judge it by its looks. It’s a dense bread that goes well with robust soups and stews. It’s the perfect accompaniment to your corned beef and cabbage dinner on St. Patrick’s Day – with a PBR, of course.

Fort Mill Times is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service