My mom is an amazing cook. I’m not just saying that because she’s my mom and people tend to like what they grew up eating. She is a true gourmet. She makes everything, and I mean everything, from scratch, and her repertoire extends across ethnic boundaries. Guests have come to her house my whole life and have talked about foods that she has made for them years and years later. We didn’t eat Ruffles potato chips in my house, we had homemade potato chips. I never had a store-bought baked good in my life unless I went to someone else’s house. She makes her own bread, she makes her own yogurt, she makes her own ice cream (without an ice cream machine). She grinds all of her own spices and makes her own special spice blends. For years she did this by hand, not just with a mortar and pestle, but with a muthereffin’ smoothed out ROCK, for pete’s sake. Only in her retirement years has she deigned to get an electric spice grinder. She makes everything from deep dish pizza to paper thin crepes (which, with her accent, she pronounces “craps,” as in “sweetie, would you like to eat a crap for breakfast?”) to crispy baklava to any flavor of trifle to traditional fijian daruka cooked in coconut cream to the lightest potato latkes you have ever eaten in your life. We never had the same thing to eat two nights in a row, ever. Not even the same thing to eat for weeks on end.
Many of the things my mom makes, she sort of reinvents. I can’t count the number of times when she will make something run of the mill or not really that exciting-sounding, and then the lucky eater takes a bite and says “oh my GOD. This is the best […] I have ever had in my LIFE.” Her carrot cake for example. I don’t know what she puts in there but she has converted more people into carrot-cake love than is really healthy for them.
This brings me to the subject for today. My mom’s cinammon rolls. Whoever has eaten them has become part of the Cult of Mom’s Cinammon Rolls. They are addictive, and awesome, and I have never been able to find another cinnamon roll to compare. But the love of the cinammon roll can take over. It can get freaky.
My mom, because she is awesome, will often ask loved ones who are going to come to her house what their all-time favorite food is. Whatever they say, she will make for them. You have a request for pho? You got it. You have a hankering for cheesecake? Coming up. But over the years, the requests have dwindled. Down to one thing. EVERYONE WANTS THE CINNAMON ROLLS.
My dear mother has confessed to me that she fears she will not be able to keep up with the incessant demand for her cinnamon rolls.
Last year for his birthday, my nephew who lives on the east coast did not ask for a toy. He did not ask for a bike. He did not ask for money. He asked his dear Nana to send him some cinnamon rolls. Which she did. A big batch of about two dozen. And you know what he did? He called her up to tell her, in little-kid earnestness, the cinnamon roll countdown.
“Nana, we only have 12 rolls left. Only 12! Mom says I have to share them with the whole family. So we lose four every day!”
On the plus side, he is learning math this way. On the minus side, loss of cinnamon rolls are causing panic in the heart of a child.
My other nephew, who lives in Seattle, had yet to taste the cinnamon rolls, until this year. At the age of 6, he was initiated with a care package full of the sweet cinnamon stash. And you know what has happened since? He has asked about those cinammon rolls when he talks to my mom on the phone. Often. “So, Nana, you can send more cinammon rolls whenever you want, ok?”
I know that my mom loves that she can make something that her little sweeties love so much, but I know there is a small part of her that is galled. She can make ANYTHING. Her repertoire is endless! No one wants a lemon merengue pie? No one wants homemade fudge? No one wants hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows? No one wants anything else? YOU CAN HAVE ANYTHING ELSE.
Nope. Everyone wants the cinammon rolls.
Nordic Boy has been gone for most of the week, and has been gone a lot this past month, and it makes me grumpy. Last night I came home to an empty house, tired, cold, and cranky, with unexciting take-out in hand. On my doorstep was a package. I hauled it inside, opened it up, and this is what I found.
Gallon-sized ziploc bags! Like 10 of them! Full of mom’s cinnamon rolls! Happy birthday to me!
I texted BioGirl to tell her what I got, and her immediate text back? An RSVP to hold one for her. Since she came to my mom’s house last summer, she’s on the junk too.
Here is my advice to you. If you ever were to meet my mom, and if she were to ever offer you a cinnamon roll? Walk away. Just walk away. If you don’t you will never be the same.