Whether you can make them or not- give the gift of Christmas Rolls. One of the most thoughtful things you can do is provide good rolls. Southerners love yeast rolls, especially during the holidays. Old Holiday Menus set our mouths watering with visions of hot yeast rolls and melted butter dancing in our heads. We cut our teeth on yeast rolls made for special occasions. The best memories are conjured up when we smell fresh baked rolls.
- We remember yeasty rolls made in school lunchrooms, we can still smell them.
- Tiny soft rolls were made for teas, luncheons, bereavement tables or bridge parties.
- Ladies went to Cobb Lane for the tiny Orange Rolls.
- Even big men delighted in the basket of Orange Rolls brought out in Bogue’s Restaurant while they waited for their Meat and Three lunches.
- Cinnamon rolls from The Electric Maid were a special treat.
- Hand rolled to order, someone was assigned to pick up the rolls at Savage’s Bakery.
Some ladies had household help or a family member who always made the yeast rolls. Cookbooks abound with recipes for them, with notations:
- These make a soft tender dinner roll.
- These can be made ahead, just allow 2-3 hours for them to rise.
- Can be shaped as desired but cloverleaf is best.
- Allow several rolls for each dinner guest, be prepared with extra to run in the oven, if needed.
There were recipes for Bride’s Rolls, which were said to be easy- though most have so many steps I can imagine a young bride being reduced to tears. Ice Box Rolls for the busy housewife who could make yeast rolls days in advance or even the night before. Then there are the full-on – you-better-know-what-you’re-doing recipes for Parker House Rolls, which came di-rect from Boston. Only the most experienced baker would attempt these!
I am always amazed at how many men can artfully discuss their memories of yeast rolls from days gone by. I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with yeast. As a bride I could not figure out for the life of me, how to make a decent dinner roll! The shame of serving Brown and Serve rolls that came in plastic bags from the grocery store. Apparently I was not alone. Along came Sister Schubert® rolls, busy Southern cooks breathed a sigh of relief. The holiday menus began to add her rolls – ‘Are you going to bring the rolls? get Sister Schubert’s®. Even Julia Reed, the famous southern journalist served them at her swank dinner parties in New York City. They still rule the holiday dinner tables. I now have another favorite.
A lady named Millie Ray began making wonderful rolls for her bridge parties in the late 1970’s, they became so famous in the Birmingham area and beyond that in 2010, Millie Ray’s® went commercial. I love her rolls! Instead of Sister’s round pan, Millie Ray’s come in a square tin. Her rolls are still hand rolled and cut for the homemade look. Busy ladies simply do not have or take the time to make homemade rolls often, but we want them! I once gave a busy lady with a large family a stack of these delicious rolls- she still says it was one of the best gifts she ever received. Are you looking for a last minute gift for the one who has everything but time on her hands? Make her Christmas morning easier! Whether you buy Sister’s or Millie Ray’s- buy at least three types. I buy Orange Rolls which can be served any time, Yeast or Dinner Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls. Stacked and tied with a red bow- add a Christmas Card with a personal greeting- ‘Don’t worry about the rolls Darlin’.
For Christmas morning- all three can be used on a Breakfast Buffet, Orange and Cinnamon Rolls and Yeast Rolls filled with a sliver or two of Ham, truly an entire meal from just a stack of rolls! Christmas Rolls may be the perfect gift- delicious, consumed and well remembered, a welcome addition to any meal. Give the gift of Christmas Rolls!
Love y’all, Camellia
* This post is not a paid advertisement for either Sister Schubert’s® or Millie Ray’s® I just happen to love them! And they are made right here in Alabama! As are Marshall’s Biscuits® which wouldn’t be a shabby addition to the stack of yeast rolls! That makes them extra good in my book. Look for them online or if you are extra blessed, in your local grocery store’s frozen food section. All photographs are obviously mine.