Oh, the baking and the cooking.
What makes you feel the holiday spirit more than a scent of cookies or a rising loaf of bread wafting from the stove? I can't think of a thing. I would add to the list, however, licking your fingers to remove the chocolate after breaking a freshly set batch of English toffee, a tall glass of cold eggnog, a steam-capped stockpot of simmering soup, and a pan of hot, soft rolls fresh from the oven, dotted with butter.
Topping the list of things that equal Thanksgiving to me are rolls -- specifically, my grandmother's rolls. They were the chief joy of the Thanksgivings of my youth and remain one of the biggest to this day.
Her rolls are, in a word, perfect. My copy of her recipe, on an index card written in her hand, is one of my prize possessions. The soft, golden brown potato rolls with a touch of nutty whole wheat and a subtle hint of honey, reliably disappear faster than the other fixings at the feast.
Closing Sap Alert: It is very nearly Thanksgiving. Consider yourselves all greatly appreciated and offered trays of cookies, candies and rolls. And if you're not feeling it (or even if you are) make yourself a batch of Grandma's rolls and you'll be flush with the holiday spirit, too. Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
Grandma has always been a smart woman. These rolls prove it. The dough, made and stashed for several hours to rise slowly in the refrigerator, is an exceptionally cooperative one.
Honey Potato Rolls
2¼ t. (or one packet) yeast. Active dry yeast or instant are both acceptable
1½ c. warm water (for best flavor, use the water in which you cooked potatoes)
2/3 c. honey
1 c. lukewarm mashed potatoes
2/3 c. butter, softened to room temperature