I’m munching on a homemade cinnamon roll, leftover from yesterday’s Thanksgiving Feast. Now I wonder, “how long have I been deceived, the truth hidden, shrouded by veils of assumptions, distortions, even lies?”
Maybe this cinnamon roll isn’t so great, after all. After ALL.
My mother’s mother, and her mother’s mother and my mother and now me, and maybe more mothers going back to mothers and mothers …. made homemade cinnamon rolls for Holiday meals. It’s an all-day affair, complete with the double rising, the carefully watched baking, blah blah blah… The aroma of yeast, brown sugar and butter fill the house; the whole thing is intoxicating, the whole package –cozy cooking in the kitchen, aprons, flour on the countertops and on our cheeks, wooden spatulas, the whole nine…blahblah … this is not a blog to be posted on Rockwell and Hallmark posters, believe me…Me? Write like that? (Hmm, there’s money in Americana…?)
Here’s the rub…the dough perhaps: I have always loved these rolls –and assumed that that everyone who ever put their gentle tongues on the caramelized crusty-on- the-outside/doughy- on- the-inside delicacies was equally taken. In my 60 years, I have never tasted a cinnamon roll anything like these hand-crafted yummies, not even close, baby.
But maybe they’re humdrum after all.
For the past few years, as I have gathered at other homes for the feast, bringing my homemade, hand-made, hand-slaved-over-hot-stove- cinnamon rolls, they have sat fairly sat unnoticed among the other desserts. (We had grazed upon them Before, During, and After) A bowl of cinnamon rolls? What the hek? Breakfast pastry at Thanksgiving dinner? Alongside pumpkin pie, bread putting, vegan chocolate cake, and fruity creams…who wants a breakfast pastry? Weird, right?
I’m beginning to see the light.
These cinnamon rolls get extraordinarily dry quite quickly, and they’re easy to burn a little too – none of this EVER MATTERED, as we ate these treats in their myriad forms – they’d be stale within 24 hours, staler and staler, of course, with each passing hour. Never once did this affect how much we loved them. They could be blackened on the bottom, dry as dog bones and still, we fought over the last few in the bowl.
But even when they’re fresh out of the oven – they’re breakfast pastries, after all, right? What are they doing next to the cranberry sauce, the savory stuffing? Weird, right?
Since most of the dinner guests barely touch the cinnamon rolls these days, what reality have I been living in for 60 years?
What other important truths have eluded me, what other deceptions have I lived?
At some point, it’s “just” the narrative – the story we tell. Here it is: Home- made cinnamon rolls are god-like; each member of the flock needs to genuflect accordingly, show reverence for the labor involved, and worship the product. It is one of the few truths in this uncertain world.
Oh no! Is it possible? There is no god, no miracle, no reason to pray?
Oh no! Maybe I’m an atheist after all – no food is superior to any other food?– taste buds are RELATIVE? Even homemade cinnamon rolls can fall from grace?
Oh no! Have my 60 years distorted my reality so much, that the very taste buds on my tongue are conditioned to stay in line with the narrative? The very taste of caramelized sugar and fresh dough is a matter of social conditioning? All nurture, no nature at all? Can our stories really be so powerful as to alter our chemical reactions?
Oh no, what now? Are all of my senses mingled into memory, triggered by narrative, or is it the other way around? Distorted by story, distorted by nostalgia? And then what? It is a spiral into chaos – relativism will prevail; we will see the end of civilization as we know it?
Oh, oh, oh…the power of the cinnamon roll…
I’m going back for another one now–god, it tastes like heaven. Excuse me while I work at “keeping the grand jest up.”
I have stories to write. I have gods to believe in.