Mom’s Secret Hot Roll Recipe

By Alice Muschany

Mom never thought of herself as a good cook, but everyone in our family disagreed. Her pies were delicious, her fried chicken mouth-watering, but her rolls – they were the best. After I was married and had children of my own, I asked her to teach me how to make the rolls, but she said she didn’t have a recipe. She insisted she just threw the ingredients together until the dough felt right.

A few years later, Mom was diagnosed with a rare, fast-growing cancer. She fought a hard battle, but sadly she was losing the war. Early one morning, she called and asked if I could come over right away.

My heart pounded as I grabbed the keys and rushed to my car. Thinking the worst, I drove as fast as I could.

In a state of panic, I flung open the back door. The look on Mom’s face mirrored mine. “What’s wrong?” we both asked at once.

“It’s time for you to learn how to make my rolls.”

“Jeez. You scared me half to death.”

At the kitchen table, we sat next to each other while she showed me how to add flour a little at a time. While we waited for the dough to rise, I wrote down the ingredients. She chuckled when she read the title, “Mom’s Secret Hot Roll Recipe.”

We talked and laughed while the dough doubled. Then I placed the pans on the racks to bake. When I opened the oven door, the sweet aroma of yeast filled the kitchen. I snuck one, broke it open and buttered it. Butter dripped down my chin as I ate the scrumptious roll.

“Look at your face!” Mom said, smiling. “The rolls are perfect,” she added.

When I got ready to leave, she said, “I need you to drive me to the hospital tomorrow morning. It’s time.”

I nodded and rushed out the door, tears dripping down my face. Mom had fought to stay home as long as possible, but she could no longer eat or sleep and grew weary of the constant struggle to say alive.

The next morning when I pulled in, Mom was standing in the driveway, suitcase in hand. She shuffled one last time around her flowerbeds and garden.

Then she whispered, “I’m ready now.”

We rode in silence to the hospital, and I somehow managed to hold it together. She lost her battle a few weeks later without shedding a single tear.

That Fall, everyone in the family was surprised to see Mom’s delicious rolls added to the Thanksgiving feast. I hadn’t told anyone about the day she and I shared in the kitchen. From that first holiday after Mom died, I gladly made the rolls for all family gatherings.

Twelve years later, Dad passed away during Thanksgiving week. Exhausted from the funeral, we decided to skip our traditional holiday celebration with the extended family.

Thanksgiving morning, I started making the rolls for our small dinner when the phone rang. It was my daughter. “Mom, will you tell me how to make Grandma’s rolls?”

I started to say I just threw the ingredients together. Instead, I slowly recited the recipe and explained how to knead the dough and shape the rolls.

As soon as I hung up, the phone rang again. This time it was my daughter-in-law asking for the hot roll recipe.

Throughout the day the phone continued to ring. I answered questions like, “Should I grease the pans?” “Is the dough supposed to be sticky?” “What’s the oven temperature?”

Half a dozen calls later, I answered with, “Hot Roll Hot-Line!” The last few calls were triumphant. Everyone was thrilled with how their rolls turned out.

Mom would be proud to know her hot roll recipe remains part of our family tradition.

All sorrows are less with bread

About this writer

  • Alice Muschany Alice Muschany lives in Flint Hill, Missouri. Now that she’s retired, everyone wants a piece of her. When she does find free time, she enjoys writing, photography and hiking. Her grandchildren are her biggest joy.

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3 Responses to “Mom’s Secret Hot Roll Recipe”

  1. Dana Wise says:

    This is great. It’s nice that you and your mom had that special time together. You’ll remember this forever.

  2. Pam Barnes says:

    That was a very touching and good story, as always, Alice is a wonderful story teller. I’ve known you for about 30 yearsbut never heard that story.

  3. Tricia Sanders says:

    I love your story, What a nice memory to make with your mother.

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