Although my mother loved to cook when I was little, she turned to convenience foods as I got older - partly because she became a single mom and partly because it was the trend at the time. As a result, I have very few family recipes.
I have recipes for chili and au gratin potatoes that I typed up after she gave me the ingredients and instructions over the phone and I have two recipes that she must have typed up herself when I was still very young. They were clearly typed on an old typewriter and the paper is yellowed and fragile.
One of those recipes is for rolls and she sent it to me one year when I needed to make rolls for Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's house.
Here is the recipe exactly as it appears on paper:
1 pkg yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tbsp salt
3 cups water
4 cups flour
Combine yeast and 1 cup lukewarm water. When yeast is dissolved, Stir in salt, sugar & water and 4 cups flour. Beat well, until bubbly. Cover. Set aside at room temp several hrs or overnight.
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup shortening (shortening is crossed out and butter is written in)
1 1/2 cup sugar
approx. 12 cup flour
After sponge has set, add beaten eggs, melted shortening (cooled), 1 1/2 cup sugar, enough flour to make soft dough. Turn out on floured board and knead. Place is greased bowl & let rise til double in bulk. Knead down and place in ref. Punch down each day. When ready to use, remove the portion of dough desired from ref. and let stand for 1 hr. at room temp. Make out into rolls and put on greased pan. Let rise until double in bulk.
Bake in 400 over 15-20 minutes
What I remember about that Thanksgiving and these rolls is that they turned out like rocks. But in reviewing this recipe and typing it out, I don't believe I did all the rising and refrigerating and tending that seems to be indicated in the recipe which probably explains a lot.
My favorite part of digging up this recipe, however, is finding the envelope that she'd tucked it into with "Recipe for Yeast Rolls" written in her shaky handwriting. My mother had beautiful handwriting but as she got older, she developed tremors that ruined her it. She told me once that losing her beautiful penmanship was one of the parts of aging that bothered her the most. I have scraps of her beautiful writing but today, I'll appreciate the shaky version because I'm grateful she took the time to address an envelope and mail a family recipe to her daughter in Minneapolis and giving me a keepsake in the process.