Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sweet Rolls


"I really don't think I need buns of steel. I'd be happy with buns of cinnamon."
Ellen Degeneres


I've got a few sweet rolls bouncing along with my cinnamon buns. Maybe if I got a floral apron to cover them up, I could become part of the comfort food brigade.

In my comfort food memory there's a sweet-faced, twinkly-eyed little old lady with white hair, a heart of gold, a comfortable bosom, and a faded apron that seems permanently fastened to her flowered housedress. Just conjuring her up in my mind's eye comforts me.

The big square kitchen was the focal point of her house. It had wall-to-wall linoleum, and space for a big, round oak table, which we kids sat under while our parents crowded around, chatting. They dropped crumbs of conversations which introduced us to adult concepts, such as, expecting, not getting along, and women's problems.

A profusion of African violets sat on the windowsill over the sink. There was a lovely smell of coffee that added to the homeyness. Although Mormons shun coffee, I think every family has an old grampa or uncle who hasn't quite accepted that as a doctrine he'll follow. My grampa always had a coffee pot on, and it made the kitchen feel warm and cozy.

Since I had been taught that we shouldn't drink coffee, I had a natural concern about my grampa's apparent rebellion against this particular church standard. (My mother didn't know that I was regularly given sugar cubes, soaked in creamy coffee, to suck during the lovely, sleepover routine of breakfast. I may have had a little guilt going on inside myself, too.)

When I asked my mom why grampa drank coffee, she just said, "Oh, well he's Swedish!" That was the perfect answer. No judgment, no worries, just a concise little answer for a little girl. Luckily that made me Swedish, too, so the sugar cubes weren't an issue.

There was a cinnamon aroma in that kitchen as well. Cinnamon milk toast. Grama made toast, slathered it up with butter, sprinkled on sugar and cinnamon and put it in the bottom of a bowl. She warmed up a cup of milk, which she laced with a teaspoon of vanilla and a little sugar, and poured it over the toast. I remember eating it while bundled in a quilt, sitting in a rocking chair, right by the fire that was crackling in the pot belly stove.

The floor was cold, the air was nippy, but the scents and tastes were warm and fragrant. I don't even know if I liked milk toast. It sounds soggy and messy to me now. But just thinking about it brings memories that calm my stressed mind, and relax my tense shoulders.

Comfort Food: Certain distinctive foods that are reminiscent of childhood, adolescence, less complicated times, and "Mommy!" Occasional indulgence in these foods by adults is considered safer than drugs or alcohol and less expensive than compulsive shopping.

What are some comfort foods that warm your insides and fill your soul with peace just thinking about them? Recalling those less complicated times, and sharing that recollection could save you thousands of dollars spent in therapy! So, come on. Sit down and we'll chat. Oh, and grab a cinnamon bun!

8 comments:

Ashlee said...

Comfort foods huh? My mom used to make homemade cinnamon rolls too. I loved as I got older that I was able to learn how to do it and make them for my kids now. My grammy is one of the best cooks I know...she prepares months in advance for Thanksgiving. She is 75. I love that I have inherited that gene from her. Nothing like the smell of fresh out of the oven homemade bread.

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

Oma, I just love how you write. I could almost smell the cozy kitchen, just from reading. You have a gift.

I have one particular memory of sleeping over at my grandparents' house, too. My grandpa let me help him pick the peas out of his garden, then he steamed them and topped them with fresh butter and salt. I have never in my life had peas that were so good. So crisp. It's a memory I will always treasure.

Bev said...

Wow, someone else that remembers milk toast!

My grandma used to make it for me (especially on days when I wasn't feeling top drawer), and its been years since I've thought about it

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!!

Bridget said...

Yes, you definitely have a gift for writing. I felt like I was really there.

My mom too made cinammon rolls although since she was from Seattle they were cinnamon buns. I make them now and love to see my kids devour them. I feel like I am passing on a fond memory for them.

Bridget said...
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kenju said...

I want to be a little girl again and visit your grandma and grandpa!!

Confort foods? My grandma's chicken and dumplings, my dad's french fries or soft-boiled eggs and my mom's fried chicken and gravy.

karla said...

Mmmm...you described it so well!

mama jo said...

i guess i was too young for those sleepovers...but, i saw a picture of grandma l. on the computer yesterday and i could smell her...the feeling of warmth just washed over me...isn't that neat? my comfort foods are mom's...macaroni, which i made yesterday, chicken noodle soup, hash, wheat bread...chicken salad...and of course, grandma b's caramels.