As Food52 gets older (and wiser), and our archive of recipes grows, we’re making the effort to revisit some gold recipes from our community. Today's comes from longtime Food52er TheWimpyVegetarian and actually appears in our Baking cookbook, too!
My great-grandmother, known to everyone in the family as Mamma, lived a long, healthy life in Alabama and passed away in her sleep at 90-something when I was just finishing college. I feel so fortunate to have known her for as long as I did. She knew how to make everyone feel special, as if being with you right at that moment was the best thing that had happened to her in a long time.
She had an open door policy to anyone who wanted to come "sit for a spell," so her home was always filled with people—family, friends, neighbors...and I suspect, friends of friends of friends who’d heard she could serve up a mighty good meal. Even though Mamma was always busy cooking up God knows how many dishes, she just bustled around us with a big smile and a hug as we drifted in and out of her small kitchen. As an only child, I was fascinated by all the people yelling to each other from across the room. And in fact, one of my earliest memories is of being in her kitchen, surrounded by a forest of legs (I’m guessing I was 2 or 3 years old at the time), and a counter heaped with food soaring far above me, completely out of reach.
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I can still remember the first time I had these soft little orange rolls, warm from the oven. I had a few (they’re really so small!) before they even made it onto the table for brunch. It was the first time in my memory of having any kind of homemade bread, and I realized in an instant what I’d been missing out on—they just melted in my mouth. The day my mom gave me the recipe, many years later, I immediately went to the store, and made these in my tiny apartment. They were just as good as I remembered.