After she died, as I boxed up the contents of her kitchen -- the electric skillet she received as a wedding present; the measuring cups and spoons she taught me to use as a child; the white plastic mixing bowl she bought at a Tupperware party -- it hit me that I would never eat her cooking again.
It's been almost two decades and I still miss my mom and her cooking. Although there have been birthday cakes, there's never been another one of her made from scratch, three layer coconut cakes with a cooked white icing sprinkled with coconut. While I'd love to have one more piece of her butterscotch pie, the food I miss the most, though, is her homemade rolls.
Growing up, I can't remember an Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas that there wasn't a basket of icebox rolls on the table. These rolls also showed up on birthdays, when we had company, or when there were leftover mashed potatoes that needed to be used. Family and friends weren't the only recipients of these rolls.
A few months after we moved, a repairman was working in the house while a batch of these rolls were baking. He raved so much about how wonderful they smelled, my mother buttered a couple of rolls while they were hot and gave them to him when he left. He started eating one as he walked out of the house and said he would be glad to come back any time she was making rolls.
Mom always told me the secret to good rolls was not using too much flour when kneading and cutting out the rolls. For years, she made the rolls with homemade mashed potatoes, but later on substituted instant mashed potatoes without any discernible difference. I don't have any pictures to share because I've never made these rolls. It's also why I didn't elaborate on the directions. The recipe is exactly as it appears on my mom's recipe card.
Thanks, mom, for all the wonderful memories, delicious dinners and the strawberry covered recipe box filled with the recipes of my childhood that I can cook for and with your grandchildren who never had the opportunity to know you.
Happy Mother's Day from my mother's kitchen to yours!
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup cold mashed potatoes
1 (1/4 oz.) pkg. yeast, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water