treatise on cinnamon rolls and pumpkins
Hello October. Hello pumpkin. Hello Cinnamon. Hello leaves that must flee the trees. Hello wind that helps them down. Hello knitted sweater. Where's kitty?--hello you too. October is here. Can you smell it. I can. It's best to smell it before it starts to rot. As I stir the tea that need not be stirred, staring out the window at the dying leaves, the notion triste, is what flies to mind in bittersweet admittance of that hard of hard facts; that the warm of summer is over, and yeah, c'est vrai--it's October.
But his arrival is not all tears and down cast chins--for as much as a dream it would be to be held forever in summer's kiss and sunshine's embrace, we can't. One year ago October smelt of Germany and Poland, Prague, and homefully Paris. But what can October hold now aside from a runny nose. The upsides my friends, damn it there must be upsides. October... I will take out from hiding my October sweater (you don't have one? an orange sweater with elbow patches that you only wear in October? no? really?) there are pumpkin spice lates at Starbucks yet again. The weather will play you hot and cold like a fickle teenager. The sky will fall with beautiful reds, golds, and browns. The morning is brighter, but the evening then sadder. And, I suppose above all others, is now present that greedy sensation that it is finally ok to make the house smell a continuous breath of cinnamon, cloves, anise, nutmeg and ginger. Lo and behold the season of spice. On y va.
"My sorrow, when she's here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane." My mammie is quite the Robert Frost fan. Personally I have always thought him a hinge short of a depressor. The fork in the road: which will you take? Does that mean if i make the wrong choice I am doomed for all eternity? And what fault can we attribute miss sorrow if she here bleeds hope into autumn's rain--perhaps the dark days are naught but scorched cinnamon on crispy dough, and the withered trees are barren corn stalks as they shed the last of their bounty. Perhaps for his sorrow, as she walks that soggy lane, the chill brings longing toward thoughts of hot cider, hot chocolate, hot tea. She knows pertinence only lies in what one is willing to extract from the given. Robert, you are a lucky man for your sorrow if she finds tender thought in autumn's darkening days. Man-up you pansy! If sorrow can find glee so too can thee. These damn verbose poets...
Cinnamon, clove, ginger, anise seed, nutmeg, and mace. These are the spices of autumn. The smells we want to associate with the familial pumpkin pie cooling on the sideboard as the troops nestle down to that time-old thanksgiving feast. American children both love and despise the autumnal swing; the beginning of school is a bitter burden, though with the close of October redemption is won with the night of all Hallows Eve. Ten years since I have felt the thrill of trick or treat. Why do we have to grow old. The angel that I am, never did I trick, only did I treat. But now my seasonings of autumn roost in those spices made infamous by that seasonal pie.
Cinnamon: of origin from India. Used since antiquity, mentioned in the bible, dearly sought after by European adventurers. Me--I enjoy it on my popcorn, and shhh tell no one but stewed with my black beans and rice. Nutmeg: of origin in South East Asian tropics. Derived from the actual nut, which also produces our familiar mace. The clove: of origin Indonesian, though found at the base of many traditional cuisines world wide. Though not of the magnitude of salt, the clove was worth its weight in gold, and inadvertently adds comfort to any cookie, cake, or roast. Ginger: Chinese silver, and needs not but one word of explanation--fundamental. Anise seeds---well well well, anise sadly is not appreciated by all. To many the zest of licorice is a pique, though we the seasoned know better. Those are our spices six, so what shall we do with them? Pumpkin pies? Nahh I'll wait for the pilgrim party, so let's go to Starbucks and think.
As you all know, Starbucks is one of those seasonal saps--there's the gingerbread and candy cane flavors of Christmas, the nutty with extra chocolate flavors for spring, and the fruitier flavors for summer. In the autumn, however, is brought forth each year without fail the prince of them all--the pumpkin spice late. Yes, I will spend my money on this, what of it? Have you tried the pumpkin spice? I am a Seattleite, that being said, no matter how much a food-snob anti-chain campaigner I proclaim to be, I will never turn on Starbucks. Globalizing commercial enterprise? Deal with it, I like what I like. I can say death to the Golden Arches and live my hypocrisy through my love for the siren--I care not a bit. Growing up with coffee-guzzling addicted parents (love you guys) Starbucks cups often littered the house, coffee mugs with home-brewed starbucks drip was a familiar morning smell since my consciousness of breath. Starbucks art on the kitchen walls? Yessss I did dream, some day i'll drink coffee too. Like parents who smoke, I have followed your ways! Blessing or curse? I am not yet sure.
Starbucks is not the enemy, it is not taking over coffee-culture world-wide. It is available world-wide, but available alongside the next door brasserie in Paris, the next door cafe in Italy. The Starbucks on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain--go there and you'll find a Spaniard brewing coffee who passed a few years in Everett just outside of Seattle. He can make a good cup of coffee, and he can also direct you to some of the best local cuisine in the city. The best of both worlds does not have it come with a fight, it is already there. Ahk! Too many trips here down memory lane.
Congregated at Starbucks the S.F.A. and I sip* the pumpkin spice, staring at signs of the season, calls for spice cookies and sticky cinnamon sweet rolls, oooh how the smell digs deep, how I wish I could have one, but the smell will suffice. The S.F.A. turn, perhaps we split a roll among ourselves? NO! I'll make them at home for you, for breakfast you'll see. So, cinnamon rolls it is. Real yeasty dough, that's two in a row! Here at the Salty Cod we are getting much better at the kneed. For morning-fresh rolls one must work them the night before and let rise in the fridge, so come morning all one must do is pop em in the oven.
Autumn Cinnamon Sweet Rolls:
Ingredients: 4.5 cups flour ~ .5 cups white sugar ~ 1 stick butter ~ 3 eggs ~ 1 tsp salt ~ 1 packet yeast ~ 1 cup milk (use any fat you like, i saw no difference) ~ cinnamon ~ nutmeg ~ cloves ~ 1 cup brown sugar ~ .5 cup raisins ~ 1 packet vanilla sugar (yes I still have many left) ~ powdered sugar ~ and ach! maple syrup!
Method: 1) in a dainty saucepan heat milk and then add butter until completely melted, cool a little. 2) while still warm dissolve yeast, yes it must dissolve, so keep stirring. 3) add sugar, salt, 3 cups of flour, and the eggs. mix. 4) once mixed gradually add the remaining flour and then start to kneed. kneed kneed for 8 minutes. 5) let rise in a greased bowl for 1 hour. 6) roll out dough relatively wide, rectangular form, and try to keep the edges straight, meaning yes make sure there are 4 sides. 7) in a sopa bowl mix 1 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, vanilla sugar and then spread all over dough. Sprinkle with raisins and crystallized ginger. 8) roll him up and using water on one side of the dough to seal the seam. 9) after rolling, pat it a little, but don't mark it with the b. Use dental floss to shimmy under the log and make perfect surgical cuts. if your eaters notice a hint of minty freshness, remind them it's good for their teeth. 9) grease a casserole pan, or say a large dutch-oven round pan, place the cut rolls in tight, cover with plastic wrap, and stick in fridge over night. 10) next morning set on counter for 30 minutes, and then cook at 375 for 30 minutes or so. While still pipping hot drizzle with icing of powdered sugar, vanilla sugar, and milk. Then, when you are feeling adventurous, drizzle with maple syrup. That's all.
The S.F.A. were quite pleased to have a ready and waiting warm breakfast, particularly the two with impending physics exams the next hour. Indemnity, I wager, for sufferance at having to live with me. Touche. Is there still yet more to say? After Starbucks, spices, sweaters, and rolls? There will always be more to say on what benefit we can draw from this season, so like the little traveling pumpkin pictured above--snatch up these chances, because in the tiniest blink the leaves will be gone, and mr. frost will have set in, and smothered us all. But the sun is not gone for good, you can still go there-- dans tes rêves.