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14 May 2006 / April


It smells like cinnamon in certain areas of the house. Or not necessarily cinnamon, but definitely some sort of spice.


(Photo by kris_b)

Cinnamon makes me think of apple-related edibles, like hot cider or pie. Cinnamon makes me think of potpourri. Cinnamon makes me think of sticky buns. Hmm. Sticky buns.

(The following was written one morning after breakfast in January 2006.)

A while back, in my elementary school days at least, I used to awaken some mornings with the scent of cinnamon sweetness and freshly-baked confections in my nose. Sticky buns!

These were my mother’s breakfast specialty: a type of swirled cinnamon bun, but, as the name implies, with a sugary, syrupy, molasses-y, and above all sticky coating on the bottom, studded with walnut halves. Once on your fingers, or, god forbid, your clothes, it was on there until the next good scrubbing. Paper napkins just wouldn’t cut it.

More dessert than breakfast food, they were something any child would be eager to consume, but I was not just any child. The edges of the bun were too crunchy, the nuts too hard and unpleasantly flavored, the syrup (for want of a better term) much too messy. I demanded that my mother remove the sticky side of the bun before it even came close to sullying my clean little fingers, and I meticulously stripped the poor thing of every last scrap of crust, leaving the naked center.

This was the diamond in the bowl of rocks; it was soft, chewy, clean, easy to eat. The cinnamon hidden in its curves and folds added a delicate sweetness that would not overpower my taste buds as the syrup did. And thus, I would eat my meal, feeding the inferior scraps to my mother as one would to a compliant dog. I was a very difficult child.

The years have passed, though, as they are apt to do. I am no longer such a picky eater in this healthy household where meat is now a rare delicacy and “dessert” refers to whole wheat cookies filled with nuts, seeds, and no butter. My mother has become an expert at depriving me of foods I once took for granted, making me ever-more thankful for their uncommon appearance on the dining room table.

Just the other day, I found myself idling about in the kitchen with a craving for a nostalgia kick. “Hey mom, why don’t you make some sticky buns for breakfast tomorrow?”

To my surprise, she agreed.

So the following morning I positively bounded out of bed, sitting myself at the table in a state of breathless, high-strung anticipation. I perked my ears at the sound of the oven opening. Sticky buns once more! Hallelujah!

My expectations being so high, I should have expected to be disappointed.

The sticky buns had little of the sweet syrup I had once disliked but now coveted. The crust was as tough as ever, and the rest of the bun had a bland taste akin to that of plain bread. I didn’t detect a trace of cinnamon. She said she’d put some in. Doubtless the whole wheat flour had obscured it.

I swallowed the buns obediently, smiling vaguely in the direction of my mother.

We’d all grown up, I suppose you could say: my mother, the sticky buns, and me. People look back at their younger years and pine for those idealized times, but they cannot be recreated. Because the characters have changed, the script, the stage. We discover that we have been yearning for a ghost.


One Comment

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  1. Yo / May 14 2006 9:55 pm

    They were still mad good, though…

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