Making food—and memories—is an excellent tradition wrapped in warm fuzzies. A Drift of Quills is here to share some of theirs with you!
A bite of something delicious and familiar can transport us in time, reviving feelings and memories from times gone by. Mama’s chicken soup isn’t just for curing colds. Cookies fresh out of the oven can remind you of holiday baking parties with the family. A dish of chocolate Knox Blox immediately brings to mind a summer evening spent on the front step, talking about anything and everything with our kids.
The foods we especially like—the foods that come with rich, warm memories—are different and unique to each of us. I will never forget the humid “green” smell of maple sap turning into syrup. When I was a teenager, my room was directly over the kitchen in a hundred-and-fifty-year-old house. The “vent” was a pretty iron grill in the floor that had a lot less to do with delivering heat (it didn’t really) than it did with transporting the smell of whatever was cooking downstairs. Better than the steamy (but warm!) and woodsy smell of the syrup was the aroma of the cakes my mother used to bake. Cheesecake was my favorite. Okay, and anything chocolate. (Surprise!)
My mother was a good cook, and my older sister was (is!) as well. Is it any surprise that their cooking and baking inspired my own? I don’t make my own maple syrup, but I will never touch that imitation “pancake syrup” stuff again. Ever.
When my kids still lived at home I baked. A lot. It’s a wonder we weren’t all rolling up and down the street, round as balls. I’ve cut back since then, which is a good thing. One of my baking experiments was a wonderful, mouth-watering recipe for Cinnamon Rolls and, like the Real Maple Syrup outcome, I will never (willingly or happily) eat any other kind of cinnamon roll. These little darlings became a Christmas Breakfast tradition, and I am now required to bake them every year. (Oh, darn.) My kiddos like them so much that they sometimes opt for Christmast Breakfast instead of Christmas Dinner. Those wonderful rolls rate higher than turkey and gravy with all the trimmings… And—naturally—those rolls received a little upgrade I’ve never seen anywhere else.
What is it?
Chocolate, of course!
When you’re making food—and memories—with this recipe, you can substitute raisins for the chocolate or leave them out entirely, but why?
Lythgoe Cinnamon Rolls
2 pkgs dry yeast
½ cup warm water
2 cups milk, scalded
½ cup shortening
7 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed potatoes
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 ½ tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
6 Tbsp melted butter
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon (or to taste)
Soften yeast in warm water. Let stand 10 minutes. Pour hot milk over shortening. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in 4 cups flour, sugar, mashed potatoes, eggs, salt, and dissolved yeast. Slowly add remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. Cover, let rise until double. Divide dough in half. (It’ll be messy! Flour surface and hands well.) Roll into a ½” thick rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Mix ½ cup sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle half over dough, then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Starting with long side, roll up jelly-roll style. Press edges. Cut into 12 slices. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Ice.
Icing: Mix 2 cups powdered sugar with 3-4 Tbsp water until just thin enough to drizzle over cooled rolls.
YIELD: 2 dozen rolls
Enjoy the yum!
Making Food—and Memories—Continues!
Author of The Unseen Chronicles
I’m surprised. I found (yet another) topic that is frustratingly difficult for me to write about.
Food. Turns out I can spin tales in fantastical worlds, make horses fly, cats talk, or craft a raging daemon – but the everyday sustenance that I depend on, that I look forward to – I come up vague and boring, like a bowl of tepid, gluey oatmeal. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s certainly uninspiring.
But that is my failure, because food and drink actually weave a deep magic that not only brings hope, joy, and happiness to our daily lives, but can even warp time and space, tying the fabric of our existence together in a way nothing else can…
Author of the Oathtaker Series
Oh, food! It is as critical a part of a well-spun story as it is of a well-enjoyed life.
Some years ago—let’s say 25 or so—there was a person in my life who had moved from the “acquaintance” column into the “among two best friends” column, where she has remained ever since. But even then, our relationship changed in a crazy and meaningful way, beginning with an exchange one Friday evening that went something like this…
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Is there a recipe in your file that you love because of the memories it brings? What is it and what’s the story behind it? Let us know in the comments below!