The Legacy of Gathering

Today, I’ve invited my friend Laura Jane Roland to the table today, here at Circling the Story. You can follow here on Twitter at @thelaurajane. Let’s listen in as she talks about life around the table.

***

I woke up this morning aching for my Grandmother.

The dream was little more than a cluster of impressions. Her patience, her love, and (oddly) a bunny figurine that used to sit in a corner of her house that I haven’t thought of in years.

In the two years or so since her passing, this feeling has popped up a number of times. Especially in times of high stress or feeling lost, I find myself looking for that feeling I had around her. Like I was safer than safe. Loved, just because.

One of her best-loved recipes is on my Thanksgiving menu this year, and every year. Looking at the ingredients on my counter is a little like looking forward to hanging out with her. 
laura1
Her cinnamon rolls were my first kitchen lesson. Cracking eggs, kneading dough, sprinkling the cinnamon and sugar. I loved how gently she held the dough, and when she separated the batch into roll-out-able portions, she called the sections “little dough babies” and she’d pat them like little baby bottoms.

 

She was a genius with soup; her basement pantry was always filled with pickles and marinara sauce and green beans; and when my mom inherited Grandma’s recipe boxes, there were more cookie recipes than anything else.
 laura2
And, while my grandmother was so much more than the food she made for us, it’s the magic of the senses – tasting, smelling, kneading – that brings up all the feelings and comfort I felt when sharing a meal or making a treat with her.

 

What I want – what I hope – is that those who eat at my table can take away that same comfort. I hope friends know that there is nothing to earn or prove, and that children know they are loved and safe. I hope that even when there are tears because we can’t watch My Little Ponies while we eat, what my daughter remembers is time focused on one another, listening, talking, daydreaming together.

 

I hope that when she wakes up aching for that calm in the storm, she finds it at her own table.

 

This is what we are here for: to love because we are loved. To come to the table hungry, and to walk away with more than just a full stomach.

 

Grandma Jane’s Cinnamon Rolls
 

1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
4 cups flour
1 egg
For dinner rolls:

 

Scald the milk then cool to luke warm. Add sugar, butter, and salt.
Dissolve 1 package yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.  Add to cooled milk mixture.
Add 2 cups flour and stir smooth.
Add 1 egg and 2 more cups flour.
Stir, then knead for a few minutes on a floured surface.
Cover and let rise about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down, cover with a towel and let rest for ten minutes.
Form dough into rolls.  Let rise for about an hour.
Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes.
When you take out of the oven, top with a little melted butter.

 

For cinnamon rolls
You will also need:
2 cups brown sugar
one stick of butter
1 cup of corn syrup
Scald the milk then cool to luke warm. Add sugar, butter, and salt.
 

Dissolve 1 package yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.  Add to cooled milk mixture.
Add 2 cups flour and stir smooth.
Add 1 egg and 2 more cups flour.
Stir, then knead for a few minutes on a floured surface.
Cover and let rise about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down, cover with a towel and let rest for ten minutes.
Divide dough in half.
Roll out dough in to a rectangle roughly 10 inches by 20 inches.
Cover rolled out dough lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnemon and sugar generously.
Roll up dough so it creates a 20 inch long log (that’s what she said)
and slice in to roughly 12 pieces.
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, syrup and butter and warm until bubbly.
Pour in to the bottom of a 9×12 casserole dish
Placed rolled sections of dough on top of the warm syrup mixture
Cover and let rise for about an hour.
Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes
When you take them out of the oven, turn the pan immediately upside down on wax paper so the gooey goodness covers the rolls.
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3 Comments

  1. This is beautiful. What a lovely memory that you can bring back to life. I’m sure your grandmother would be thrilled that you’re sharing her recipe. I know mine loves when I do. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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