In My Sunday Dress

My blog friend, Mary, and I share a couple of things in common. We were both raised in the midwest – me in Michigan, she in Nebraska. We are both adoptive moms. We both like to read, although she is more diligent about keeping up with new titles than I. She has a Kindle and I am still reeling from the sheer number of books I needed to deal with when we moved from our old home to the new one. I cannot bring myself to purchase any new ones….yet. (My goal is to become a familiar face at the Highland Library this summer instead.) And there are also differences. I am tottering into older middle age and she is not. I am the oldest of two children and she is the eleventh of twelve. I am a Teacher and she is in Real Estate. She collects vintage Tupperware and I have an affinity for Pyrex. Our lives revolve around soccer practices and games and theirs does not….yet. I have been watching her efforts to reduce her family’s carbon foot print with high interest. She has taught me alot about being more responsible. About taking recycling one step at a time and then just deciding to go all out with it. About the importance of purchasing my vegetables and fruits from local farmers. About investigating a more vegetarian diet. And about making my own laundry soap.

We have never met….or talked on the telephone. And yet, we are friends.

Good friends.

I know this because Mary recently shared a family recipe for raised rolls with me. And I am only the second person outside of her family that she has done that with. I count myself to be very lucky.


Actually, I asked for the recipe because I will be hosting 20 junior varsity soccer girls for dinner after practice later this week. I have made homemade rolls before but Mary’s looked so much better than mine in her pictures. Mine tend to be crusty and brown and filled with air. Her’s always looked crusty and brown and filled with….well….bread. I asked her to share….and she did.

Today – Sunday – was rainy and cold. I came home from an early morning church service and cut up potatos and carrots to add to the left over pot roast in our crock pot for stew. Then I thought I would try Mary’s recipe so we could have warm rolls with stew.
I have made bread before and wasn’t a big deal so I thought I would throw it all together and then change out of my Sunday dress while waiting for the dough to rise.


One of the things that my friend, Mary, told me in her email not to do was use those foil packets of baker’s yeast. She buys her dry, active yeast in bulk but said if I didn’t do much baking to at least invest in a jar of the stuff.

And I did.

And I followed her recipe.

In my Sunday dress I dutifully mixed the yeast in a tall glass with a bit of sugar and warm tap water. I set about scalding my milk and watching to see the mixture in the tall glass, waiting to see it ‘bubble up like Guiness.’

And ‘bubble up’ it did.

Up the sides of the tall glass, to the top, over the edge and then spilling into the bowl I grabbed to set the glass in.

Just in time.

And so I ended up having to throw ingredients together quickly in order to use the bubbling yeasty mixture. Flour spilled over the counter top. Melted butter dripped down the side of the pan of scalded milk. Sugar and salt scattered on the stove top. I poured the yeast mixture into the pan just before it was about to spill over the top of the small bowl.

Now I really had a mess on my hands.

I still had to pull down my largest bowl and mix more flour in to the warm soft mass, knead it into a smooth ball with sticky, floured hands. I had to wash out my largest bowl and oil it to hold the bread dough as it rose. All things I had planned to do. And did.
But instead of changing out of my Sunday dress, I found myslef cleaning up the hastily made mess. I wiped up flour and swept up sugar and salt. I rinsed out pans and loaded the diswasher….and then punched down the doubled bread dough. Still in my Sunday dress I pinched off golf ball sized balls of dough and filled the parchment lined jelly roll baking sheet. That used up half the dough. Knowing that I would be making more rolls later in the week, I decided to use the other half to make cinnamon rolls for the freezer. Out came the brown sugar and cinnamon and more butter. I rolled and sprinkled and sliced and aligned. I popped everything in the oven to bake and set about cleaning up more flour and brown sugar and cinnamon dust.

And so here I sit, still in my Sunday dress, about to enjoy a steaming bowl of beef stew and warm, raised bread rolls. And that’s okay because the Sunday dress – with it’s flour and cinnamon dust and bread dough spots – can go into the washer later.

With my homemade laundry soap.

Thanks to Mary.

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2 Comments on “In My Sunday Dress”

  1. Mary Says:

    I am still laughing hysterically! LOL!
    Your description of how you had to hurry to keep up with the ingredients is how I often end up. Every time I make that recipe, I find myself saying “Dangit, I forget Mom didn’t write small recipes! What am I going to do with all this dough??”

    How did they turn out?

  2. Mary Says:

    Aside from making me laugh, this post really touched me. You have been so kind over the years, sending things for Rabbit, having your school kids write letters to my nephew when he was in Iraq….you’re the cat’s pajamas.

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