30 November 2008


Thanksgiving was wonderful. So much good food. We didn't have any family around but we did have some good friends come and enjoy all of the food. Turkey is wonderful! Potatoes and gravy are great! Pumpkin and apple pies with fresh apples from the apple tree are excellent! But what I think makes thanksgiving the best is rolls. Yes, wonderfully tasty bread rolls. Rolls with butter, rolls with jam, rolls with cranberry, rolls with gravy, rolls with turkey, rolls with...well just about anything. The following is my mother's roll recipe. I think they are the best rolls ever. I have tried quite a few different recipes, but I always come back to this one. It has taken a while to figure out the tricks to make them right, so I will try to share what I have learned to make the just right.

Ingredient List
4 1/2 tsp yeast (2 packages)
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup butter (margarine will work, but butter is better)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
8 cups of flour

Stir yeast and 1 Tbsp of sugar into 1/2 cup warm water. The water needs to be quite warm to make the yeast react, but not to hot to kill the yeast. This is a little hard to measure, but you should be able to get the water out of the tap. It should be hot to the touch, but not burning. They key is, about 10-15 minutes after you mix it, the mixture should become very foamy. I usually mix this in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup and the foam will almost fill the cup. Set this mixture aside.

I use a kitchen aid mixer for the rest of the ingredients. Heat milk to hot, but not quite boiling. I usually do this in the microwave. Pour the milk into the mixing bowl. Soften the butter and add it to the milk. Add sugar, salt, and eggs to the milk mixture. The yeast should be very foamy by now. Add the yeast mixture to the milk mixture. Mix in 7 cups of flour. The dough will be very sticky.

Spread about a cup of flour on the counter. Dump the dough onto the flour. Put some more flour on top of the dough and some on your hands. Knead the flour into the dough. Adding the last cup of flour this way allows the dough to pick up as much flour as it needs. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Don't knead the dough to long, just long enough so it no longer sticks to your hands. Spread some flour in the mixing bowl. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover it, place it in a warm place and allow it to rise for about a 1/2 hour to an hour or until it doubles in size.

Punch the dough down. Put some flour on your hands, do this as necessary so the dough does not stick to you. Make balls of dough, table tennis to golf ball sized. I do this by squeezing a ball of dough in between my first finger and thumb until the ball of dough pops loose. Place the balls of dough on a cookie sheet. It makes about to cookie sheets worth of rolls. Cover the rolls and let them rise for about half an hour. Bake them for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

As soon as you pull the rolls out of the oven, rub a cube of butter or margarine over the top of the rolls. The makes the top of the roll very sweet. Pull them off the cookie sheet and enjoy!

04 November 2008

A Memory

Wrestling is a genetic trait among Jones boys. Countless hours have be spent practicing, running, sweating, starving, aching, suffering. For some reason it was all counted as fun. Practice often included running sprints about 5:30 AM, running for lunch, 3-4 hours of actual practice time after school, and running in the evening.1 It was a bit grueling, but again, somehow it was all counted as fun.
On one particular night after a very hard match, which included the usual black eyes and split lips, I sat down in the recliner in the living room to rest. I don't remember why, but for some reason Mom volunteered to massage my feet. I gladly accepted. They hurt. In fact, everything hurt. Mom quietly and tenderly work out the tension and pain of my sore muscles. I probably fell asleep due to the relief...or the Ibuprofen.

The significance of this simple act of service was certainly not understood or appreciated as it should have been at the time. Years later though it has often brought to mind the simple act of the savior as he sat with those he loved most. “[Jesus] riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” Mom understood what the Savior meant when he said, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” Countless hours of service. No visible reward.

I suppose the true significance of this act of service came into view as new little feet came into my own home. Each pair of feet needing special care and attention. I only hope that I can serve as thoughtfully as those who have left such great examples to look on.

1. Spitting is gross. Besides if you can spit, you aren't running enough or dieting right.