Today, in my month-long nod to inspiration, I share how to cheat — in a good way.
First… let me say Happy Chanukah and an early Thanksgiving.
We received this beautiful card in the mail from Jaynane, just in time to celebrate this moment of abundance and gratitude.
What are you grateful for?
Tonight I am grateful for my sister. I emailed her earlier in the week and asked her to send me my mother’s refrigerator roll recipe. Mostly so we could fully enjoy turkey leftovers on scrumptious rolls!
My sister sent both the roll recipe and the pie crust recipe. As if to challenge me.
Let’s just get this out there. I have never made my mother’s rolls. Ever.
I suppose this isn’t that big of a deal — unless you grew up in my house and witnessed every single person that ever walked through your front door for a holiday dinner salivate over my mother’s rolls. I mean, seriously, her rolls were legend. I’m not making this up. Ask anyone related to me. And don’t get me started on her CINNAMON rolls. I might cry.
So tonight, as I read through the instructions that my sister so nicely sent to me over email, the recipe seemed WAY too simple. Mostly because I remember a practical circus in the house I grew up in every Thanksgiving and Christmas morning — and it usually had to do with my mother’s roll dough rising, or not rising.
As if the entire success of our Christmas festivities hung in the balance of dough reaching it’s peak performance.
Was it rising?
Was it warm enough?
Were they golden brown yet?
As I whipped up the mixture, in my mother’s KitchenAid that now sits on my counter, I was shocked that it requires just a few simple ingredients. I even called Justin over to check my work.
“Really, just one egg?” he asked as he looked over my shoulder.
“That’s what I said!” I laughed in unison. And then… “Here’s goes nothing.”
Everything seemed fine…. until Justin caught me prying the dough out of the mixer as I tried to transfer the ball of sticky stuff to the “well greased bowl” and ended up wearing more on my fingers.
Later this evening I called my sister. She asked about the recipe. I confirmed that it was set up in our refrigerator for a long night’s slumber.
Then she asked me if the yeast activated.
To which I said, “How would I know?”
“It looks like a head of deer when it mixes with the water.” she replied.
“A head of deer? What does that look like?”
Justin interrupted from the other room — “She said a head of beer.”
“That wasn’t in the recipe!” I exclaimed to her over the phone.
“Remember how mom would take it out in the morning and then punch the dough down?”
“No….” I frowned.
“Well make sure you punch it down once and then let if rise again.”
“That wasn’t in the recipe!” I exclaimed again to her giggles.
“Jamie, I gave you exactly what was on Mom’s recipe card.”
“Well, she clearly left out a few steps. What else do I need to know?” I begged.
“Make sure you butter the tops of the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven otherwise they won’t taste as good.”
“That was NOT on the recipe either.” I pointed out but now my sister was in full-on hysterics.
I’m kind of a joke around the kitchen with my family. And, it’s my own fault.
Mama Sling warned me many years ago. “Pay attention to what I’m doing in the kitchen. I can teach you how to do all of this. You will regret it if you don’t learn.”
I didn’t. And I do. And now I know what she was trying to tell me…. you only get one mom, one shot, and one chance to learn from her.
I was clueless. And now I regret it, just like she predicted.
But there’s something else she predicted way back then.
Every time my sister and I fought she would drag us by the hand and sit us down and wag her finger in the air saying, ”You two need to get along. There will come a day when I won’t be here anymore and you will need each other.”
Once again, Mama Sling was right.
Okay, so I admit, I bought a pie at Albertson’s for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner. But I did attempt to make Mama Sling’s Famous Rolls.
But not without the help of my sister.
And for that I am grateful.