Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cinnamon and Sandwiches

Another true confession.

I used to try to manipulate my kids' memories of their mother by purposely doing amazing things that I was sure would win me a place in the Missionary Mom Hall of Fame. Things I could imagine my children remembering fondly after I die. Things to place me on a pedestal right up there with Edith Shaeffer, Mrs. "Art of Homemaking" herself.

One of these fabulous feats was to start every long road trip with fresh homemade cinnamon rolls. Yes, just for the sake of future glory, I began a tradition of making a big batch of cinnamon rolls the night before we would leave for a journey to the States (see sidebar for recipe). I would put them in the fridge to rise overnight, and then first thing in the morning, I would pop them in the oven to bake while Jim finished loading the car.

Then the children would experience the indescribable blessing of waking to the amazing aroma of cinnamon rolls, which would soon permeate the car as we piled in and prepared for breakfast on the road. What a wonderfully devoted mother I was, right?

Ah, it's a fond memory to me even now. I love cinnamon rolls!

Unfortunately, my kids don't see it that way. What they remember (besides the long grueling 20-plus hours in the car before reaching Texas) is regurgitating those lovely cinnamon rolls on the first stretch of barfy, curvy highway. One child in particular still cannot stand cinnamon rolls because of that negative association. Walking through a mall and smelling Cinnabon does not stir up fond memories for her, but evokes a gagging sensation instead.

Even worse, this same child cannot stand sandwiches for the same reason. Living in Mexico, we seldom eat sandwiches for a quick easy meal. Instead we tend to eat beans and rice, quesadillas, nachos, or leftovers. (Okay, and even cereal when Dad's away.) But seldom sandwiches unless they are tortas (hot submarine-type sandwich made on a bolillo--like a French roll--with smashed beans, avocado, Oaxaca cheese, tomato, jalapeno, and sometimes a slice of lunch meat or scrambled eggs with chorizo - yum!).

On a long car trip, I would make tuna or egg salad, and simply make the sandwiches as we needed them, so we wouldn't waste any uneaten sandwiches. I would also take along a few peanut butter sandwiches for the first day on the road. That's the only time they remember eating sandwiches, and the memory grosses them out.

Great. Now I have children who hate not only cinnamon rolls, but sandwiches, too.

IRL*So much for manipulating memories...


  1. Aaaaahhhh, there should be a law against describing such yummy sounding Mexican food on a blog for people living overseas where Mexican food = doritos with a jalapeno on top!!! :)

    Obviously I missed the point of the story, but I'm too busy drooling over the idea of quesadillas and avocados and beans....

    :) :) :)

  2. There was no point. I'm just trying to fatten up all the missionary ladies. Actually this post is killing me, too, because I am on a restricted doctor-monitored diet.

  3. Are you living vicariously through your writing? As in, can't eat it, so I'll tempt poor, helpless, (trying to be good in the land of plenty), ladies?

    I wish someone had 'blessed' me with that great reaction to cinnamon rolls. Now, I'M craving them....

    I am glad to see some of this 'road tripping' memory lane show up in your blog. You have some doozies. :)

  4. Ah yes, those wonderful memories of barfing in the car! I think I've thrown up in every Central American country (except Belize) and on every curvy stretch of the Panamerican hwy through Mexico! This is why melon, to me, is not a morning food and why I hate breakfast! (I also hate sandwiches for the same reason your kids do.)

    MK life is so much different than an American Mom can imagine!

    Your post made me laugh at the memories. =)

    Now that I'm a missionary mom, we do plain toast before the trip followed by a chaser of plain water and a dramamine. Then we put a pack of saltines on each lap and hand each child a ziploc baggie. There is no hope for GOOD memories on long trips!

  5. That is so funny< Jamie Jo! I had to work through my own revulsion to cinnamon rolls, because they were what was served the last morning of summer camp, right before that long drive over mountainous twisty turny WV roads on the drive home from camp.

    I WANTED to like them!!! They smelled so good! But they sat in the pit of my tummy like a great gluey mass of dead weight.

    Makes me queasy to think about. The smell of cinnamon, mixed with the smell of the exhaust from all those cars picking up campers, and all the fumes from the diesel trucks out on the turnpike. Blechhh!!!

    P.S. I like them, now, and you were trying hard to be a GREAT Mom. I don't fault you one bit!!! :-D

  6. @Faith: yes, doozies for sure. Not to worry, I have them all documented in journals, not like anyone in this family could forget!

    @Beth: Plain toast with dramamine. What a novel idea! We do have fun memories, even though you wouldn't exactly deem them "good."

    We all laugh about how my first ddil was initiated into the family when she held a barf bag for one of the younger kids on a road trip from Guatemala back to Oaxaca. Then she wanted to know what to do with the bag, and refused to throw it out the window like we instructed her until... never mind. Too gross to tell. Trust me, it went out the window.

  7. Thanks, Susan. Hopefully all my dc will learn to appreciate cinnamon. That's funny you had the same experience.

  8. You are welcome to make cinnamon rolls for me any time, as well as any type of Mexican food... but I'll travel with Beth's diet any day! Dramamine should be given half an hour before departure and repeated frequently on those roads!

    Then there was the time we wondered if it would make the roads any better if we swung, jumped, and bounced inside the van to see if that warded off car-sickness.

    It almost worked. It worked on 3/4 of the kids.

    I didn't work on me. The one and only time I hurled on those roads was that day.

  9. Ellie, your comment makes me think of a t-shirt someone once told me about. It was a spoof on the "Imagine World Peace" slogan that was going around, but the shirt said "Imagine Hurled Peas" instead. I didn't get it. That particular term became popular sometime after we left the U.S. and I had never heard it before. Now I can't hear it without envisioning peas.

  10. You need to make one for your family:

    Mitla to Puebla - Imagine Hurled Peas!

    Ugh... my parents used to make split pea soup, which could make me hurl without a road trip. ugh!

    A few years ago, we took a "vacation" trip up in some mountains to find snow... with seven kids... all of whom hurled multiple times. The only saving grace was that the van had a metal interior and vinyl seats, so we simply parked on a hill when we arrived and hosed it out!

  11. Somehow I doubt they would wear such a thing. A few of my kids share your childhood opinion of split pea soup. Such a shame. I LOVE split pea soup.

    A couple of Christmases ago, my older ds drove the younger ones up the mountains very close to here where they could see a bit of snow. I never thought to ask if the car needed hosing out afterward.


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