Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Rewards of Slaving over a Hot Stove

Do these women look happy, or what?
It's Thanksgiving Tuesday, and I'm guessing you're homebound and snowbound. A great excuse to get a jump on Thanksgiving cooking (if you picked up your ingredients at the last Market of the year). Because even if you've been invited to someone else's feast or planned to skip cooking altogether and buy the meal from the grocery store, those plans might be up in the air. (On the flipside, those people who might have been coming to your house for dinner and whose arrival you were secretly dreading may not make it after all!)

Not only is it a great day for home cooking, but a recent study written up in Wired Magazine has shown that laboring over our food leads to higher levels of satisfaction. Yes, indeed. That Happy Meal would actually make us more happy if we had to defrost the nasty so-called patty, fry it up ourselves, and slap it in the cardboard bun. When we buy the processed food and consume the easy calories, we're full and functioning, but we don't experience the same fireworks show in our dopamine receptors that slaving over a hot stove produces. Therefore, we have to eat more to experience the same satisfaction levels. Yeesh! No wonder I'm so miserable after I eat the whole box of Oreos.

If you've got a bread machine, I've got the world's best dinner rolls for you. Make 'em today and freeze them for Thursday. Because of the bread machine cheating, these will only provide 1/4 the satisfaction of kneading the dough yourself, but I actually hate kneading dough, so I think I break even.

World's Best Dinner Rolls (adapted from Betty Crocker's Best Christmas Cookbook)
 2 cups bread flour
1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2T softened butter
1 t salt
3 t yeast
1 cup hot water

Place all ingredients in bread machine pan and run dough cycle. When the cycle is complete, punch the dough down and tear it into 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place, touching, in a greased 13x9 pan. Cover with a dish towel and let rise for thirty minutes in a warm place. Brush the tops with egg white or butter and bake at 375F for 12-15 minutes. Cool on rack completely before freezing or serve warm. (I usually give them a 15-minute reheat the day I serve them.)

If your kids are like mine, they aren't crazy about all the Thanksgiving veggie sides, so dinner = turkey and these rolls. Enjoy!

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