January 9, 2017
I really enjoy baking. There was a time when my Sunday morning routine included mixing up a batch of bread dough, then reading the New York Times and sipping coffee with our two Italian Greyhounds cuddled up next to me while the dough rose. The bread would be ready for our main meal, which frequently was around 1 PM on Sunday but often got moved to the evening depending on what was happening that day.
I lost that routine somewhere along the way when work got too busy. I still make bread frequently but I’ve lost the rhythm of baking every Sunday morning.
When I was growing up, my Aunt Margie baked bread rolls every week. I’m not sure why, but I think it was on Thursdays. I remember little balls of rising dough, in neat rows, resting on top of the same cabinet, covered by the same cloth, every week. As a child, I marveled at how they all were exactly the same size. It seemed impossible.
Those rolls were a staple of my childhood. Lunch often consisted of hot Calabrese salami sandwiched inside one of those rolls. Sometimes it was peanut butter and jelly. Other times it was peanut butter and banana, a combination my Italian-born mother-in-law still doesn’t understand!
I still eat sandwiches of Calabrese salami for lunch on a regular basis. Some habits don’t die. The sandwiches are often on my home-made bread baked in a loaf pan or on a split open chunk of focaccia, but unfortunately, not on Aunt Margie’s bread rolls.
Aunt Margie died a few years back. Even though she had stopped baking rolls every week long before that, periodically she would ship me a box filled with her home-made bread rolls. Some I put in the fridge, others went into the freezer. A quick zap in the microwave, a few slices of salami, and I was re-living a favorite childhood memory.
Memories are funny, though. We never know what experiences will become favorite memories. We just have to take them as they come. Maybe the best we can do is to create experiences that will become favorite memories for others. We just never know what they’ll be.