So I need to confess my “thing” about Thanksgiving Rolls. I love dinner rolls. A nice hot, flaky dinner roll made with white flour and topped with melting butter is one of my favorite food things in the world. I rarely have dinner rolls. The yeast, the rising, the this, the that. They take forever to make and I’m a busy person. But at Thanksgiving, there HAS to be dinner rolls. Not Rhodes Bake-N-Serv rolls. Actual scratch-made dinner rolls. Usually I volunteer to do this. And I make some good rolls. Except that one year I forgot to plan out my baking schedule and it turned out I didn’t have time to make rolls. That year we had cornbread biscuits. Those were okay, but not the transcendent dinner roll experience I was looking forward to.
So this year I’m informed that my Mom’s friend Linda was coming to Thanksgiving. Yay! We like Linda. Then my mother tells me that Linda will bring the rolls.
“Wait.” I said, instantly suspicious, “does she know about the importance of Thanksgiving rolls?”
“Oh, yes.” My mother replies.
“But,” I continued, not believing her, “does she understand that they have to be from scratch?”
“She said she was bringing rolls. She has the perfect recipe.”
“But there are a lot of kinds of rolls. Does she know how to make them from scratch? They aren’t going to be Rhodes Rolls, are they?”
“Oh no,” my mother assures me, “Linda can cook. She’s a good cook. “
I am not convinced.
I arrive at my mothers house Thanksgiving morning to find Linda working on her rolls. At the time, she was heating butter and coloring it pink. When I asked why, she showed me the mold. She was making pink doves out of butter. I tried to integrate pink doves into my flaky, fresh baked from scratch dinner roll concept. It sort of works. A little. I guess.
“So tell me more about the rolls,” I say in a casual, no big deal manner.
“Well, it actually was kind of a pain,” Linda begins her story. My mother chimes in intermittently. It seems that the store (store!) was out of the kind of rolls (rolls!) the recipe calls for. They had to go to three different stores before they gave up.
“What exactly were you looking for?” I asked. My vision of Thanksgiving rolls–even ones with pink doves of butter melting on them–began to fade. Memory doesn’t serve as to the exact answer, but it seems that Pillsbury or some other manufacturer does not make the exact kind of refrigerated (!) rolls specified by the recipe. They eventually gave up and bought another kind of refrigerated rolls.
While half watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and then the incredibly boring Dog Show, I keep an eye on roll preparation going on in the kitchen. The sheets of refrigerated rolls are being cut into strips. Linda is arranging them on a baking sheet. There are green sprinkles appearing?
“What are those for?” I ask, unable to let the green sprinkles go by without comment.
“The rolls.” Linda answers. As if green sprinkles are often paired with rolls. Although they do seem to go with pink doves of butter. At this point I’d resigned myself to the Thanksgiving rolls I’m getting, not the ones I want and I amble over to see what Linda has created.
“So what exactly are you making?”
Linda explains. “See, the rolls get shaped into a tree, and then I put the sprinkles on and a little star at the top and then, after I bake them, I put the doves in the tree.”
And lo, she did.
“What are these?” Chris asked as they were coming around the table. He’d been over at Aunt Pat’s all day, and missed the initial roll preparation. Linda explained all about the rolls.
“Would you like one?” she asked.
“Well, they are interesting…” Chris trailed off, but took one. I think he might have a thing about Thanksgiving rolls too.
I took one. And ate it. And ate another. Not bad.
I enjoy having guests at our holiday tables because they always bring new directions of conversation and new things for us to enjoy. I hope Linda comes again for Thanksgiving. However, next year? I’m bringing the rolls.