By Joan Clayton: PNT Religion Columnist
My husband looked forward to Sunday lunch at Mother’s house. He longed to eat her light, crusty piping hot rolls. Try as I might, I could never duplicate Mother’s homemade rolls. I used the same recipe, but they never turned out right.
Our first baby had a long siege of colic. The weariness and fatigue of the week seemed to vanish with that first bite of Sunday dinner rolls. Just the delicious smell rejuvenated us. Along with the rolls came Mother’s love and encouragement that our colicky baby would soon be all right.
Later two others sons blessed our family and the smell of baking bread soothed us all. We weathered storms in those early days with trust in God in our hearts and Mother’s wonderful hot rolls in our tummies.
Mother taught a Sunday School class all those years, and I could never figure out how she managed to put the rolls out to rise before going to Sunday School and have them ready to bake after church. I tried it many times to end up with flat blobs of yeast.
One day I determined to duplicate Mother’s rolls. I stood behind her and traced every step.
“But, Mother,” I protested,” that makes such a mess! All of that flour and punching all that dough takes a lot of time besides the mess it causes. All that sticky stuff is hard to wash off. Isn’t there a less messy way to do it?”
“You don’t think about the mess or trouble it takes when you’re doing it for those you love,” she replied.
I learned my first lesson in roll making. There are no short cuts to love…only love and unselfishness.
The boys became teens, and I still lacked pitifully in the roll-making department. I also lacked wisdom in coping with teenagers, but I had Mother’s encouragement and my family had her delicious rolls.
What memories our sons have with those Sunday dinners, birthday parties and holidays all topped off with Mammaw’s specialty, including plenty of butter and homemade jam. Only once or twice in all those years did we miss eating those marvelous rolls on Sunday.
Once after Mother’s surgery, I had to run to the convenience store for brown and serve rolls. My attempt to make rolls had failed again.
One by one the boys left home. Each departure filled me with tears. “In order to keep them, you have to let them go,” Mother assured me as she passed a plate of those delicious rolls. It seems to me I must have eaten five or six without stopping. Somehow they eased my pain and soothed my heart. Those rolls were bridges for my emotional empty nest.
Eventually Mother’s health waned and the time came for me to make the Sunday rolls.
“Your dough was fine, she exclaimed, “but it isn’t stiff enough. You didn’t use enough flour. It makes a mess, but it’s no trouble when you’re doing it for those you love.”
I finally learned the secret. Among the other ingredients in bread making, don’t forget to add an “overflowing cup of love and a heaping cup of unselfishness.”
Our sons called Mother “Mammaw,” and it’s with love I share her recipe. I hope you’ll learn the secret quicker than I did.
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
1/2 cup of oil
1/2 cup of sugar
1 package yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup lukewarm water
4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
Stir ingredients together in order shown. Keep dough in the refrigerator at least twelve hours. Roll dough into medium size balls. Let rise two hours before baking. Bake in pre heated oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until crusty brown.