One Week Until Thanksgiving: We’re on a Roll

After joining my sister to help out at Living Hope Compassion Ministries Thanksgiving dinner Saturday, I feel as if I’ve already had Thanksgiving. More than 500 people came to eat the free meal prepared by Living Hope folks, with more than 400 served between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. only.

Many of the recipients of this meal were among our city’s most needy; the homeless and nearly homeless, young families, the working poor, and the unemployed were there. They represented all ages, from infants in strollers to senior citizens in wheelchairs. Many people walked there from as far away as Westwood Manor, or road bikes from all over the city to get there.

At some point I wished I could take a photo to capture the scene, but I was too caught up in my job of handing out rolls, and my camera wasn’t handy.

It was a humbling sea of humanity, and almost to a person the diners expressed gratitude for the meal of turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, potatoes and gravy, a roll, beverages and dessert. I felt humbled to help, and an immense sense of awe for the work that places like Living Hope do not just on Thanksgiving Day, but the rest of the year’s 364 days, too. Thank you to Living Hope leaders Mike Mojarro and Jordan Storment for you dedication to serving this most vulnerable segment of our society.

But for most of us, we still haven’t had our Thanksgiving yet, and we have a week left to get our act together. Luckily for us, we have choices. If you’re hosting dinner, you might want to delegate a few dishes so you’re not doing everything. It’s more fun that way (IMHO) anyway.

Tops Market in Redding (formerly Sunset Market on Eureka Way) and Tops Market in Weaverville offer many locally sourced items to help make Thanksgiving go smoothly. They’re gearing up for Thanksgiving next week with many specials, including the $89.98 prepared gourmet Thanksgiving dinner, and Cook’s spiral sliced hams for $2.69 a pound, and of course, Tops’ crown jewel of the holiday meal, its Diestel all-natural, locally raised fresh turkeys. If turkey’s not your thing, Tops also offers standing rib roasts, rack of lamb and even duck to star as your meal’s main event.

Speaking of Tops Market, I hope you saw my story about Blake Dorsey, who sells his home-roasted coffee at Tops. I like his coffee so much that I’m leaving my favorite Peet’s behind after a life-time of coffee drinking (except for decaf, which he doesn’t do), for Dorsey’s Ancient Fire coffee.

Oh, and do you remember last week when I mentioned their whole roasted rotisseried chickens, two for $10 every Thursday? I heard from a friend who shopped there that she could barely get to the front of the deli counter last Thursday because of the crowd buying those chickens. She was told by someone there that to her, the even better deal is the Thursday cooked rack of ribs for $10. Say no more. I’m in.

But I’ll also be back the next day, Fri. Nov. 22,  for Tops Market’s wine-tasting from 5 to 7 p.m., hosted by Nick Bauder, Tops beverage director. Weaverville will host a wine-tasting the same day. In Redding, Bauder will be pouring Rodney Strong wines. The following week Tops will offer the wine-tasting a day early, Wed., Nov. 27 in both locations. Depending upon how the week is going, this might be a very good idea. Maybe I’ll see you there.

For our family’s Thanksgiving, sister Shelly is preparing Tops Diestel turkey, sister Bethany is making her dressing in her new cast iron casserole and I’m responsible for homemade yeast rolls and the spiced orange cranberry relish. We’ll pitch in to fill in the rest of the items, including desserts.

Ours is a small family, so for us, Thanksgiving is a time to be together and to appreciate not just the food, but one another, and to remember those who aren’t with us. There are no gifts involved. Just food and love. No wonder it’s my favorite holiday.

For this week’s recipe, instead of sharing my usual recipe for yeast rolls, I’ll share a recipe from friend Judy Smith, who won me over with her All Purpose Refrigerator Rolls.  I think they’re among the best I’ve ever had. Enjoy.

All Purpose Refrigerator Rolls

 6 c. flour
 ½ c. sugar
 1 ½ t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
 1 ½ t. salt
 ½ c. butter
 ½ c. warm water
 1 t. sugar
 1 pkg yeast (or 1 T.)
 1 ¾ c. buttermilk

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture (by hand or in food processor).

In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the 1 tsp. of sugar. Let rest and rise about 10 minutes.

Mix all ingredients together, including the buttermilk, the only ingredient left, until smooth and elastic.

Store in large covered container in fridge. (If you want to make the whole recipe immediately, let rise, form and let rise again as below.)

To use, take out of fridge as much as you want. (1/2 recipe makes 9 large rolls or 12 medium.) Place in covered container and let rise in warm spot until double in bulk. Form, put in greased pan with the rolls barely touching, let rise until double in bulk again.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or so—until hollow sound when tapped. I usually brush the tops with butter as they come out of the oven.

Makes 2 dozen medium rolls.

Recipe courtesy of Judy Smith of Redding

This recipe sponsored by Tops Market in Weaverville and Redding.

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Click here to order a sandwich online from the Weaverville Tops Market.
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate. Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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