Monday, April 28, 2014

Therapeutic Baking

Almost four months ago, our family lost a very special member. My Gramma. Now, the funeral is over, our family has all gone home, and life is seemingly back to normal. That is, some kind of" new normal".
For the past three months, I have been flooded with memories of my Gramma, particularly around Easter, on a perfect spring day, or on this her birthday. I wrote about a lot of the memories I held of Gramma in a tribute to her, but once time had passed I felt that I needed to express my grief in a different way. Thus, shortly after her funeral, I turned to the kitchen.
My Gramma was great in the kitchen. Her cooking was the epitome of comfort food, and many of her baked goods and meals were staples...traditions....for her to bring for holidays. Stuffing and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas, Rice Krispy nests and hot cross buns for Easter, brownies for birthdays (ok just my birthday as I often requested them...I'm a bit spoiled). None of these delicious eats compared to Gramma's buns.
For my wedding shower, I was given a book of recipes from everyone who attended, and one of the recipes was for my Gramma's buns. My favourite. They are tiny balls of lighter-than-air butter-topped perfection.  On the day I decided to turn to the kitchen to think about Gramma, I decided to attempt to make her infamous buns.

The Recipe

5 cups water                                             1 large yeast
1 1/3 cups lard                                          1 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. salt                                               1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup suger                                               - set 5 min
 - warm these together

Fill large bowl 1/2 full of flour, add above "just warmed" ingredients along with yeast mixture. Stir hard until smooth then add flour till too stiff to stir. Put out on flour covered cupboard and knead until not too sticky. Put in greased bowl in warm place to rise to double in bulk, knead down and let rise again and roll out. Cut in small pieces to roll into buns. Keep hands greased
Bake 25 mins @ 375 or until brown.

This seemed to be much more complex than I originally planned. Please bear in mind that I have NEVER made buns before.
I would love to tell you that they turned out perfectly and I channeled my Gramma's spirit to the point of becoming a baking goddess. This is far FAR from what happened.

They looked good enough; however, the recipe was vague about a few ingredients so I decided to 'wing' those. Then, I over-kneaded and possibly put in the wrong type of yeast, yielding the heaviest, doughy-est (is that a word?) buns I have ever tasted. Instead of lighter-than-air they each weighed the equivalent of my newborn baby.
How I wished I had made these buns when Gramma was around to call. Despite the utter failure of my baking attempt, the smell of the buns baking in the house reminded me of Gramma and flooded me with memories of her baking in her kitchen while my brother and I sat eagerly awaiting for them at the table. It was worth the 6 lb buns and the entire afternoon of attempting to bake them in order to have that moment with Gramma.
I plan on attempting them again soon.

We miss you Gramma. Happy Birthday.




  1. Buns are so hard to make!! LOL. Your Gramma would be proud

  2. What a lovely post. Sounds like we lost our grandmas around the same time :-( I learned a few recipes from my grandma, but I wish I would have learned more when I had the chance. Those buns look pretty darn perfect!