A Little Bit of Everything


Do you ever catch yourself daydreaming about the past? I’m not talking about pining after lost love or fitting into skinny jeans or anything quite like that. Just that simple remember when…, that quiet reminiscing akin to putting on those old, worn, comfortable jeans that fit just right. Seven years ago my father-in-law took a job transfer that relocated him (and his wife) to Appleton, Wisconsin. Not a big deal to most, but somewhat ironic for me since my parents had moved away from that area six years prior. I had grown up there — grade school, high school, college; it was home.

This past weekend we headed up to Appleton so my husband could attend a conference with his dad and uncle. That left me with his mom, his aunt, and my three girls to spend a day gallivanting around the area. Driving those streets again… The shadows of weekly drives to honors orchestra rehearsals in high school (in our family’s snazzy red Geo Metro 🙂 ). There’s this quiet sense of… I don’t quite know what — accomplishment, perhaps — that descends upon me as I drive down College Avenue through the campus of Lawrence University. Four-and-a-half completely exhausting years of my life, yet so many memories — most of them good. 

Stopping at a gas station that now sits on the location of what used to be Little Caesar’s — my first job — and telling my girls I used to work there. And those stores across the street there? Grandma worked at a Hallmark store over there. And that’s where I worked at the bagel shop with my sisters. And Dolly, I think to myself. We worked with dear, sweet Dolly whose self-declared theme song was “Pretty Woman”, who loved leaving little notes for us and sharing the crossword with us on our breaks. (Wouldn’t you know, as we’re sitting there at the pump and I’m telling them about the bagel shop, “Pretty Woman” comes on the radio!) 

While dwelling on or living in the past is rarely a good idea, I believe that remembering where you’ve been is vital to a sane existence. After all, that’s how you got where you are today. One year ago I started this blog. What a year it’s been! I have thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity so far. It’s been a tremendous blessing to me (and my sanity) to put on my apron and putter around the kitchen, to create and experiment, to learn and grow, to sit and write. And then I get to share. It never ceases to amaze me that people enjoy reading what I write — and then they add the recipe to their repertoire! I am so blessed!

A lot of my culinary creations are riffs on foods and flavors from the past. At the time I never would have thought that part-time jobs to fund summer marching band and college tuition would end up playing such a big part in my life in the future. But here I am with Crazy Bread and lattes and bagels of every flavor darting through my head. A few weeks ago with a hankering for burgers and no buns in the freezer, I pulled out a quick yeast roll recipe from Good Housekeeping to make my own. And while they suggested poppy or sesame seeds to add “an extra special touch” to these rolls, I knew I could go one further. Known to many as Everything bagels, but known to SueAnn’s Bagels employees and customers as Houdini bagels (Harry Houdini, that famous magician, claimed Appleton, Wisconsin as his birthplace), I was thankful I had mixed up the tasty topping dozens of times. What resulted was what I remembered. Almost magical.

Here’s to another year of making delicious memories!

Quick Rolls with Houdini Topping

adapted from The All New Good Housekeeping Cookbook

  • 1 package quick-rise yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
  • 1 cup very warm water (120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 3 Tbsp butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 tsp. dried, minced onion
  • 2 tsp. dried, minced garlic or 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt (such as kosher salt)
  • 2 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 large egg
  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour. With wooden spoon, gradually stir very warm water and butter into flour mixture to make soft dough.
  2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, working in enough of remaining 1/4 cup flour just to keep dough from sticking. Shape into ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes. Grease large cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
  3. Meanwhile, mix minced onion, garlic, salt, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds in small bowl.
  4. After 15 minutes, cut dough into 12 equal pieces (for hamburger buns, I cut into 8 pieces). On lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into ball. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place (80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit)  until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In small cup, beat egg and 1 tsp. water; brush over tops of rolls. Sprinkle generously with topping. Bake rolls until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve rolls warm, or cool on wire racks to serve later.
One other memory: there was a woman we worked with at SueAnn’s — Connie — who loved these Houdini bagels with peanut butter. I’ve learned not to despise anything till I’ve really tried it. It’s really good. I highly recommend a peanut butter sandwich (no jelly) on a leftover roll.


3 responses »

  1. Those look fabulous! I always loved it when you shared bagels and the cherry-chocolate-chip cream cheese with us from SueAnn’s! 🙂

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