Friday, May 7, 2010
I’m delighted to share with you the following poem in prose, which is dear to my heart because of the irony in having a mean mother, Betty Belles (pictured left), and eventually becoming one.
The World's Meanest Mother
Makes Mean Dinner Rolls
“As a child, I had the meanest mother in the world. She was real mean! When other kids ate candy for breakfast, she made me eat cereal, or eggs and toast. When other kids had Coke and candy for lunch, I had to eat a sandwich. As you can guess, my dinner, too, was different from other kids.
My mother insisted on knowing were we were at all times. You’d think we were in a chain gang.
She had to know who our friends were – and what we were doing. She insisted that if we said we’d be gone for an hour, that we would be gone for one hour or less. She was really mean!
I am ashamed to admit it, but she actually had the nerve to break the child labor laws by making us work! We had to wash dishes, make all the beds, learn to cook, and all sorts of cruel things. I believe she lay awake nights thinking up things for us to do!
She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
By the time we were teenagers, she was much wiser, and our life became even more unbearable. None of this tooting the car horn for us to come running. She embarrassed us to no end by making our dates come to the front door to get us. I forgot to mention it, but while my friends were dating at the mature age of 12 and 13, my old-fashioned mother refused to let me date until I was 15 or 16. She was really mean!
My mother was a complete failure as a mother. But, none of us have ever been arrested, or beaten a mate. Each of my brothers spent time in the service of his country, willingly…no protesting. And whom do we have to blame for this terrible way we turned out? You’re right…our mean mother!
Look at all the things we missed. We never got to take part in a riot, never burned draft cards, or got to do a million things our friends did. Our mean mother made us grow up into God-fearing, educated, honest adults.
I am trying to use this as a background for raising my own children. So, I stand a little taller, and I am filled with pride when my children call me mean. You see, I’m thankful that God gave me the meanest mother in the world.
I’d like to pass along to you my mother's recipe for dinner rolls. These sweet, old-fashioned pull-apart dinner rolls are unforgettably delicious and once you've tasted them I think you’ll agree that my mean mother could make an equally mean dinner roll. These rolls were Mom's signature contribution to every holiday meal, including Mother's Day!
My Mean Mother’s Dinner Rolls
½ cup water
½ cup butter or margarine
5 ½ to 6 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¾ cup milk
¼ cup butter, melted (optional)
Heat butter and water to 110-120°. In a large mixing bowl combine warmed butter/water mixture, ¾ cup flour, yeast, sugar, salt, eggs and milk. Gradually add remaining flour; knead about 4 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.
Lightly punch dough down and divide into 12 balls, place in a 9” x 12” or 11” x 13” baking pan. Butter a piece of plastic wrap and loosely cover rolls; place in a warm location to rise.
When rolls have raised almost level to top of pan, gently remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until rolls are light and golden brown as pictured above. Remove from the oven; brush with melted butter, if desired. Cool for 5 minutes; turn onto cooling rack.
Yield: 12 large dinner rolls