Saturday Cinnamon Buns
My brother and I were some of the first latch key kids with both parents working out of the home. We were quite independent at an early age. With two working parents we made own lunches, saw ourselves off to school and did many of the household chores. My older brother focussed on the outdoor chores like mowing the lawn and shovelling snow. As the younger brother, I was relegated to the indoor chores like cooking, vacuuming and laundry. I am not complaining that is just how we were raised.
As our parents were away a lot, any time spent with our parents was special. When I was 7-8 years old I would help Mom make cinnamon buns as a special treat every couple of months. Under her tutelage I would carefully measure and mix the required ingredients. Then I would knead the dough until it was tough to the feel and squeaked as it was kneaded. The squeak was important, a loud mouse-like squeak as you folded the dough and punched your fist into the dough. She would smile at me when I got the squeak. Kneading the dough was quite cathartic, much more satisfying than a mix-master. I just Googled and the squeak comes from the air trapped in the dough which will ensure a light dough. The dough in its bowl was placed on the warming stove to rise.
After rising, the dough was gently pushed down and rolled out. Then on the dough we added the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and raisin mixture. We rolled up the dough to enclose the mixture and cut off the individual buns. These spiral swirls of dough and sugar were placed in buttered pans and baked. The sweet cinnamon smell filled the whole house for hours. Our stomachs churned in anticipation. The buns were finally removed from the oven and Mom would chastise us to wait for them to cool. But what was burnt lip or tongue, we could only wait so long. The golden brown stickiness called to us and soon our fingers and lips would be covered with it.
As I grew older and could make the cinnamon buns on my own, I realized something was missing. While I enjoyed the cinnamon buns my Mom and I made together, it was the time spent with my Mom that was really most important. Even more so when she died young at 43 years old with breast cancer after suffering many years with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Enjoy every day with those you love and build lasting memories for the future is known to no one.