Yesterday I wanted to make cinnamon rolls. I have not made them since my Mother’s stroke since they would have been very difficult to swallow and I couldn’t risk her choking. I knew she would want a piece if I made them and I didn’t ever want to have her see them and not get one. Momma made cinnamon rolls every week. She loved them as did the whole family. When we were young Momma made more than one pan because friends and neighbors would always ask her for a roll. Her rolls, as compared to mine, was always much lighter and seemed to remain that way for more than a day or two. They were heaven, just like some of her cookies. Momma taught her self to bake and she was a very good teacher.
When I was young I often watched while she baked and I always wanted to learn. One day when she was gone I begged my sister to help me get a cake baked. I wanted her to check all the ingredients and make sure I was right. I wasn’t too old, just around eight or nine years old. I put the cake in the oven and almost forgot to take it out. My mixing method also wasn’t so good. When Momma cake home she smelled the cake. It had burnt to a rubbery hockey puck. She asked me what happened and finally I allowed her to see the cake. She hugged me and gave me a kiss, wiped off the tears from my cheek and gently told me that if I wanted to learn to bake that she would teach me. From them on every Saturday was a lesson in baking. With the patience only she could have and the amount of love in her heart she taught me all she knew. Eventually I was professionally trained to cook and bake. To this day I bake like my Mother and it is far superior to any professional baked product.
And so, regardless of her never wanting to admit that she was instrumental in my food career, then I shall let you know she was and bring you with me now as I think of Momma and baking–
I, with dusty socks, shirt and jeans and a rolling pin for specular,
hold court over soft butter, brown sugar, walnuts, raisins and danish dough.
As I bend slightly to roll the dough, I look up and and I see you —
Also bent slightly, hands covered with flour and your palms
knead soft buttery dough that come from the oven as golden danish,
lined on tin pans as your own tin Soldiers scented of
cinnamon, mace and waiting to be enjoyed with a crock of country butter.
Neat rows on cooling racks were crispy, Ranger Cookies,
waiting for me to put them in the Cookie Jar or in my Tummy!!
Each week I watched in boyish curiosity as you baked,
watching in the hope that someday I could do the same.
On the kitchen table lay your handwritten cookbook.
Recipes with chocolate, nuts, caramel, sour cream and more.
Oh what a journey as we filtered our way through the pages
and now the the books lay on my counter, tattered, worn and loved.
Journeys made today find you with in each page,
windows to your love and treats to make.
Each recipe your hallmark passed on to me
Each recipe returns to you, my love and my thank you.