Sunday, May 12, 2013

Smeagol and Friends Eat Cinnamon Rolls

My mom is famous for her cinnamon rolls. Like legit, world class famous. She's made them for every bake sale and fundraiser in the Yakima Valley, she takes them to people when they are having a hard time (because one bite will make all your problems go away), and I've heard many people mention having erotic dreams about nothing but my mom's cinnamon rolls (true story). Plus, after high school dances, my friends would come over and eat hot cinnamon rolls before ditching me to go get drunk. If that doesn't prove how delicious they are, I don't know what will.

Here's the thing though - they are notoriously difficult to make. Upon tasting my mom's celestial buns (that came out weird, but the word celestial is certainly necessary in this context) most people ask for the recipe. 
And here's another thing about my mom that I love - she always gives recipes to whoever asks. You know those people who won't share "secret" family recipes? I find this to be such odd behavior. WHY DO PEOPLE DO THAT? Just share it! 
Anyway, I always chuckle when people ask for the recipe because I know that the gates of cinnamon roll hell are about to open themselves upon them. I have never met anybody who asked for the recipe and reported a positive result. That's how hard this babies are to make. Bless people for even trying though.

Which brings me to the point. I have helped and watched my mom make these cinnamon rolls my entire life. She used to let me spread the butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar and I fondly remember her performing this monumental act of love (any double rise bread is an act of love in my opinion) often for our family and others. But despite witnessing this culinary miracle on a relatively frequent basis, I've ALWAYS been terrified to make them. And even though making cinnamon rolls comes as naturally as breathing to my mother, the mere thought of attempting them on my own frightens my pride. Why would I do something that is most certainly a guaranteed failure when my mom is more than willing to do it for me when I come visit?

But then I got thinking. Someday my mom will be old and it might be hard for her to stand or make the rolls and that symbol of love and everything else I hold dear in the world won't be around anymore simply because I'm too afraid to learn the skills that are required of them. My mom is the glue that holds every tradition and family memory together for me. Holidays and family gatherings are her specialty, especially when food is involved.

And then I had this horrible dream. My mom was 80 and we all came home for Christmas. Of course we felt bad making our 80 year old mother prepare a delicious meal (although in the dream, she had prepared it for us the year before) so we as children offered to do Christmas dinner. Here's what everyone brought:
Darcee - Rice pilaf (Rice-A-Roni) and teriyaki pork tenderloin (made by Brent)
Chelsea - Dinner in a pumpkin and chicken flautas
Me - homemade rolls
Shea - Costco churros and deep fried shrimp
Darel - Costco Ling Lings and Nerds Rope
It was a disaster and I remember that my mom didn't say anything bad about the disgusting meal we made but we could all see the disappointment in her face. Had we learned nothing from watching her slave away all those years? She had even tried to teach us all to cook individually, but yet we had all failed to reach her level of acceptable deliciousness. I remember feeling devastated and motivated at the same time. I woke up vowing to perfect my mom's cinnamon rolls so that when she couldn't make them for us and we prepared a disgusting dinner in the future, that at least we could eat our feelings in delicious cinnamon rolls afterwards.*

*I should also note that my mom would never be disappointed in us for such a thing, but sometimes you can't explain a dream.

Anyway, I kept thinking that I needed to try and make my mom's cinnamon rolls again. When Nick and I were first married, I tried several times and failed miserably. We couldn't even eat them they were that bad. I finally gave up until I had this dream. Then ironically (or fatefully) my friend Emily texted me and said that our other friend Emily requested cinnamon rolls for her birthday dinner and I knew this was my chance to practice in hopes of achieving my new goal. I mentally fretted for days about making them for a party, especially when they were requested by a dear friend, whose taste buds are especially refined.

Luckily, I had Smeagol with me and she helped lighten the mood and distract me from every mistake I was making. In fact I was more concerned about her randomly tossing things into my rolls that I was rather relaxed about my own lack of skills. 

Don't worry, nobody got a butter wrapper in their cinnamon roll.

Smeagol was helpful as could be and I said a sincere prayer that I would not destroy my friend's birthday with inedible cinnamon rolls.

Here's the part you've all been waiting for. Were my cinnamon rolls divinely perfect?
Absolutely not.

You betcha.

For the first time in my life (and only on the 5th try) I made my mom's cinnamon rolls and they were decent. I've never been so proud of myself. The texture was all wrong and they certainly weren't as fluffy, but they tasted like an average cinnamon roll. Which means, that in 30 years when we are eating a nasty Christmas dinner of Ling Lings, churros, and dinner in a pumpkin, we will hopefully all be salivating for that one remnant of our favorite tradition.

I hope this doesn't imply that my mom does nothing but serve and slave for us (although she might feel that way sometimes). She is talented in many ways, but I think her greatest talent, is the way she shows love. And that is by serving others and I'm grateful for her example. I feel like all of my siblings (and myself) have learned valuable lessons throughout our lives of service and charity by having her for a mom. Plus I'm going to state the obvious here and point out her beauty. She's a fox, a SheWolf if you will. The woman dresses better than I do on a daily basis which is kind of amazing if you ask me. 

The moral of the story?
My mom is the bombdizzle, her cinnamon rolls sizzle.
My rolls are semi-gross, but here I am trying to boast.

I love Mother's Day. Any day that I'm told how awesome I am is a pretty good day. When Nick told Ev to tell me "Happy Mother's Day," this morning, she sang "Happy Birthday to You Evie," instead. 

I'm so grateful to be a mom. I know I'm screwing it all up, but I still think I'm doing a good job. I try my hardest to be the best mom I can and at the end of the day, despite my mistakes, I feel good about my efforts. I'm just thankful that kids (especially my kid) are blessed with the ability to forgive and forget easily. I have the coolest job in the world - and if I can still say that after changing the world's gnarliest diaper during Sunday School, then you know my job is pretty rad.

Me and my hobbit today after church.

Yes, that is a screwdriver in her hand.


Aimee @ Like Mother Like Daughter said...

Some day I'd like to give your mothers rolls a try. Can you email me the recipe?

Rachey Elder said...

Your mom is amazing and that's why you are too! I would never attempt the Shewolf's anything because I struggle with Grilled Cheese. You are the cutest mom ever though! Happy Mother's day!