published Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Side Orders: A sweet gift from Momma

You never know what good things await when you open a drawer that’s been closed for years. Most of us have them, particularly once the kids are grown and gone and you find yourself with extra storage space for the first time in decades. The empty drawers are wonderful for stocking away old letters, photos … any treasures you don’t want to toss out but also don’t want lying out in the open hither skither around the house.

In my case, it was a small old chest in my foyer where years ago I had stored dozens of cookbooks I no longer used but didn’t want to throw away. Every 10 years or so it’s nice to thumb through old cookbooks and resurrect dishes.

I recently had some remodeling done to my foyer and moved the chest drawer-by-drawer into my living room, where their contents were exposed for the first time in a while. I’d forgotten about many of those cookbooks, but the thing that caught my eye was an old army-green, three-ring binder, its cover threadbare and pages yellowed from age. It’s the kind of notebook our moms and grandmoms used to paste recipes on its blue-lined loose-leaf papers.

Somewhere in the cobwebs of my mind the notebook looked familiar. Out of curiosity, I picked it up and turned to the first page, which had my recipe for peanut butter cookies, one I had handwritten when I was no more than 5. I couldn’t believe my mother had held onto it all those years. Yes, this was it. A binder I thought I’d lost when my parents moved from their home into a retirement community. And now that my mother is no longer with us, it meant even more to find it again.

I continued thumbing through the pages and as I turned the final page, a broad smile crept across my face. I found a recipe for which I’d been hungry for years — my Mom’s easy and oh-so-delicious cinnamon rolls.

I made them the next afternoon when my sister was in town. As we worked together, we reminisced about those rolls the way they would make the house smell after all, smell is the No.1 scent for triggering memories. We thought about how Momma would make them for no special reason, sometimes simply because it was Saturday morning and a good way to draw us out of bed.

Once our rolls were baked, I realized this was about more than just finding a recipe. It was a gift from my Mom. I hope she was glancing down on my sister and me that afternoon. She always loved it when we played together nicely.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all.

Momma’s Cinnamon Rolls

5 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 (8-ounce) cans crescent rolls

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, melt the 5 tablespoons butter. Stir in brown sugar, water and pecans.

Separate each can of crescent roll dough into four rectangles; seal perforations. Spread the rectangles with the 3 tablespoons of softened butter. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over butter dough rectangles. Roll up each rectangle from the short side. Cut each roll in four slices and place in prepared pan over butter-pecan mixture cut side down. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Invert immediately onto rectangular serving platter or sheet of aluminum foil. Spoon any remaining sauce on top of rolls. Makes 32 small cinnamon rolls.


The Chattanooga Market opens its new Wednesday market today. The decision came shortly after the close of the 2013 season, when more than 300,000 visitors attended the popular Sunday Market held at the First Tennessee Pavilion.

“Chattanooga and surrounding communities are buying local, supporting farms and contributing to the local economy,” Chris Thomas, executive director of Chattanooga Public Markets, said in a recent news release. “We want to allow another opportunity for folks to shop for fresh, local produce, arts and also provide homemade grab-and-go meals for their families.”

So this is it. And no better time for chefs as well, since Wednesdays are sometimes their busiest days. Now they can get the freshest produce possible, take it back to their kitchens and have it on your plates within hours of it being picked from area farms.

The new Wednesday market will be held at the First Tennessee Pavilion from 4 to 7 p.m. Those familiar with the main Sunday market at the pavilion will note that the Wednesday market will be a bit more intimate. “It will have a laid-back feel where friends can enjoy live acoustic music, find fresh produce and bring home dinner prepared by local food truck vendors,” said Thomas.

For more information, log onto chattanoogamarket.com.

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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