My dear grandmother passed away on Tuesday, May 12, 2009. I was able to see her the Saturday before and say goodbyes as she was headed to the hospital, not knowing how things would turn out for her. She was the one who was most supportive of all the kids in whatever clubs and teams we joined and wanted to know all the details. She drove in to watch all the performances and kept us in the summer. She loved to write letters and stay on the phone for hours and of course give you advice whether you asked for it or not. Out off all the grandkids I’m the one who took on an early love for cooking and learning her secrets to her recipes that all of us relied on having when we went to visit.

Grandma was known for her “jailhouse rolls”, sweet tea and making a million and one desserts for after dinner. I don’t think we ever had less then 3 pies to pick from for dessert after a meal. I always requested her chicken fried steak, green rice and rolls. My brother wanted cream cheese pie and tapioca. Each of my cousins have their favorite dish as well from watergate salad and cinnamon rolls to fried shrimp and she would honor each of our request every time we visited. She’s the one who spoiled me with divided plates so that my food wouldn’t touch each other and taught me the way to a mans heart is though his stomach. 🙂 Even as her health started to fail and her body became weak she still had to make sure her grandkids were well fed when they came to visit.

One of her favorite things was to work with yeast dough. I finally tackled her jailhouse roll recipe in December of 2006 when I threw a dinner party for all of our friends. I remember she called me every 15 minutes to check what I had done and how the dough was doing. I swear I felt like I was doing surgery via conference call, but she wanted to make sure it worked perfectly for me. I’m grateful for that and I’m grateful for all the time I’ve had to spend with her.

Jailhouse Rolls

1 cup real mashed potatoes
2 sticks margarine
3 whole eggs
7 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 package dry yeast

Mix dry yeast in water, blend then set aside for later use.

Mix potatoes, margarine, eggs, salt and sugar; blend in flour.

Add yeast water, blend well, place in a greased bowl.

Cover with damp cloth (touching dough).

Put in a paper bag and place in refrigerator until ready to use. (It will rise in the fridge and almost double in size, we like to let them stay in there overnight.)

Roll out like a pie crust and cut to desired size. (Grandma uses a small juice can which makes 4 9″ pie pans of rolls and rolls the dough out to 1-2 inch thickness.)

Butter tops and let stand for several hours or until they have risen in a buttered pan. (You can cover with saran wrap)

Cut and ready to be buttered:

Buttered and risen:

(I recommend buttering them again right before they go into the oven to give them a better browned color.) Bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes or until browned.

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