I hadn’t been home since my maternal grandmother died. The thing is, Kentucky never felt like home. It was a waystop for both my brother and me, but our mother and maternal family is all still there except for a few stragglers. When my grandmother died I didn’t want to go back. It was a childish response, I know, but there had never been a time there where she hadn’t come through the door like a five foot tall tornado. I was afraid to see the house she’d lived in and feel the emptiness where she used to be. We were close. I loved her. It’s been two years and I still tear up thinking about her.
My grandfather, however, is still there. He’s old. After these last two years hiding from memory ghosts I can’t help but feel stupid for not going back while he’s still alive, especially since he’s been asking me to come up. It was time to get over myself. I packed up my husband and my corgi and we drove to Kentucky for Thanksgiving.
I can’t say that it was easy being up there. I kept waiting for her to run through the door, and her car still smelled like her. The house was practically unchanged except for a new collection of my grandmother’s photos by my grandfather’s recliner.
It felt right to make her family famous rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. Despite burning the bottoms (because my grandmother’s old stove is a strange contraption I have yet to master) they were just like I remembered. It was a lovely meal with my family, and I already miss them.
My grandmother’s yeast rolls are pillowy, fluffy goodness with either all-purpose flour or whole wheat. I made them with all-purpose because that is what I remember as a child, but she modified the recipe for her anti-cancer diet. I have listed both.
Grandmama’s Dinner Rolls
Yield: varies depending on size of rolls
1 1/2 cup milk
2 pkgs active dry yeast (I used rapid yeast)
1/2 cup shortening or 1 stick of butter (I went with butter. Shortening creeps me out.)
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp sugar or 5 scoops of Stevia (I did sugar)
2 1/2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
5 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt (optional, but I used it)
Heat milk to lukewarm and add butter.
Mix all dry ingredients.
Slowly add milk mixture to dry ingredients until mixed well.
Add vinegar and mix until combined.
Cover and let rise for one hour in a warm place or until doubled in size. Do NOT punch down once risen.
Pinch off in small pieces and form into balls. Place on a greased baking sheet.
Cover and let rise again for another hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake at 400 for 20 minutes in the middle of the oven.
Try not to eat all of them by yourself.