This is another of the posts in my Memory Lane series. I am having fun digging into my earliest food memories and sharing the recipes here. As I think about it, though, I do believe that my earliest food memory is from when I was 2 years old. Yes, I really can remember back to when I was 2. Anyway, that earliest memory revolves around eating a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast. My baby brother woke up and I stopped eating breakfast to follow my mom into his room. When I came back to the table, my scrambled eggs were gone. I remember crying about it and my mom told me that I must have eaten them and she wouldn’t make me any more. To this day, I don’t know what happened to those eggs. So strange.
However, scrambled eggs has absolutely nothing to do with my memories surrounding potato rolls. These were very special rolls that my grandmother only made for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. I don’t know why they were only reserved for those times, but it may be because the dough is prepared the night before and left to rise in the refrigerator. That’s a great plus during busy Sundays or Holidays when cooking time is at a premium.
These rolls are amazingly tender and moist. My cousins and I used to sneak as many of these as we could before the adults would ban us from existence. What can I say? It was the South in the 60’s and we “young-un’s” weren’t supposed to be seen or heard (except by Granny because she loved us so much and appreciated that we loved her rolls enough to risk life and limb to sneak them.)
I have not made these rolls for many years, mostly because I live my life flying by the seat of my pants and always make quick recipes for rolls. However, after making these rolls and taking that first wonderful bite, I promised myself that these will be on my to-do list more often. My husband and son were the only ones around for dinner the night that I made these and both of them asked the same thing, “What did you do to these rolls?” “They are potato rolls.” “Is there honey in them?” “Nope. Sugar.” “Did you add any kind of spices?” “Nope. Just mashed potatoes.” It is incredible what mashed potatoes and the potato cooking water can do for the flavor of what would otherwise be fairly ordinary rolls. Plus, allowing the dough to sit overnight really sends these rolls over-the-top on the flave-o-meter.
In the spirit of true confessions, I ate three rolls, John ate two of them, and Matt gobbled up something like six or twelve (with butter). He had a plate piled high with them and was heading for the couch when John and I went up to bed. Time to get somebody on a statin for cholesterol control.
I have kept the recipe just as Granny wrote it, including the shortening. I am sure that butter would work well also. I use it in all of the other types of rolls that I make and it works great. However, I wanted to be true to this recipe, so I kept the shortening.