Manna Cafe and Bakery Cookbook
A Memoir of Two Businesses, a Community, and the Food that Connected Them

By Barb Pratzel

ISBN: 978-1-955656-07-8


Manna Cafe was more than a restaurant. It was a community that evolved from 35 years spent nourishing customers with from-scratch bakery, creative meals, and a vibrant, welcoming space. Here, the lives of patrons and staff intertwined, and the cafe became a home and crossroads for many. This combination cookbook-memoir caps off the shared career of a wife and husband whose talent for cooking and hospitality first delighted guests at the Collins House Bed and Breakfast, then attendees at catered events, and ultimately the cafe-goers who stood in lines out the door for their famous oatmeal pancakes, sticky buns, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, and so much more. With double-tested recipes for these and other beloved Manna Cafe specialties, plus detailed instructions and kitchen insights gained through decades in the industry, this book is for cooks of all skill levels. Bringing the recipes to life is the story of how two people discovered a Madison they loved and their path to running two businesses that reflected their lives, passions, and values. 

384 page softcover


Barb Pratzel was a UW Journalism School graduate and science writer whose career took a decidedly sharp right turn into the world of bed and breakfasts, catering, and restaurants. Then, for 35 years she welcomed guests to her inn and customers to her cafe and bakery, all the while cultivating recipes that helped define a community. When the 2020 pandemic caused the widely beloved Manna Cafe to close, she turned once again to writing, grateful to bring her career full circle with this memoir-cookbook, the joyous result.

Barb is a New York transplant who fell in love with Madison, Wisconsin, at first sight and lives here still. She has two children deeply rooted in the ethos of small business culture and a husband (aka business partner/lifelong companion) whose love of a loaf of bread has amply sustained her, like Manna.