In the Easy Chair with ... Allyson Mansfield

In the Easy Chair with ... Allyson Mansfield

The Westerly Sun


AGE: 51.

OCCUPATION: Owner, Vesta Bakery.

RESIDENCE: Westerly.

BORN, RAISED & GREW UP IN: Westerly.

RIGHT NOW I’M IN THE MIDDLE OF: Preparing for zeppole madness today, on St. Joseph’s Day.

FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND MY TIME: Traveling with my family.

PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: The bakery, which is approaching its 10th anniversary this summer.

I’D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR: Wearing something other than a chef’s jacket. My sister teases me that I’m wearing the same thing in every family photo because I’m always arriving late from work for family gatherings.

TOP ON MY BUCKET LIST: Trip to Italy with my extended family.

ALWAYS IN MY POCKET: My driver’s license. I don’t own a wallet or purse.

WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP: I’ve always wanted to own a bakery.

PEOPLE WHO HAVE INFLUENCED ME THE MOST: My grandmothers, Margaret Mansfield and Mary Totire.

FAVORITE AUTHOR: O. Henry.

I AM READING: Just finished “Girl on the Train.” I absolutely hated the ending.

I AM LISTENING TO: Usually NPR or Pandora.

FAVORITE MOVIE: “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

FAVORITE TV SHOW: Currently, “Better Call Saul.”

FAVORITE PET: Smoky, the cat my family owned for almost 20 years.

FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: Bread pudding.

AMOUNT OF TIME I SPEND ON SOCIAL MEDIA: As little as possible, I don’t even own a cellphone.

TRAIT I MOST ADMIRE: Grace under pressure.

PET PEEVE: Trash thrown from car windows and cigarette butts tossed on the ground.

FAVORITE QUOTATION: “What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning, and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” — Bob Dylan.

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD: The seasons. As much as I loved living in San Francisco, you can’t beat a New England autumn or Christmas.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Caffeine ... a lot of it.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME: I hate frosting and anything super sweet.

BEST ADVICE I EVER RECEIVED: “You’ll be picking out of the swill pail someday.” Said to me by my grandmother Totire after I threw away the end of a bunch of celery. She never wasted anything. I still hear it in my head when I throw things away.

ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE: I try not to, no one appreciates unsolicited advice.

IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD: Get rid of all the hateful comments on social media, and force people to speak respectfully to one another in person. You don’t learn anything hiding behind a computer screen.

IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS: Give my wonderful staff huge bonuses for putting up with me.

I DRIVE AN: Ugly teal 2006 Chrysler minivan that I am slightly embarrassed to admit how much I like.

I WISH I DROVE A: Bike more often.

ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE: Bread starter, I started it over 15 years ago in California, and brought some back with me. We feed it daily to keep it alive.

IF I COULD HAVE A DINNER PARTY WITH A FEW SPECIAL PEOPLE, I WOULD INVITE: My two grandfathers, Frank Mansfield and Natale Totire. I didn’t get the chance to know them.

— Interview arranged and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro


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