Happy Thanksgiving from My Family to Yours

Statler Rum Rolls from Good Housekeeping Cookbook (published in 1942)

The dog observes as a rat takes away productsThanksgiving is so tied to food in the U.S. that when I think of the holiday, I can almost taste the traditional foods I enjoyed as a child.

On my Facebook Page I mentioned that I would be making these for my own Thanksgiving dinner this year, and I was asked to share the recipe. But there’s a story that goes along with it.

My parents separated after I graduated from high school and my mother moved north. She left many things behind, but the thing she most mourned was this cookbook, particularly because of the rum roll recipe, which had been something of a specialty for her. We had these rolls nearly every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and she was always so proud to make them.

Mom  never found another copy of the 1942 cookbook, which was out of print by then, and never made them again. She died at age 60. After her death on my fiftieth birthday I was in a rare bookstore puttering around. I got a sudden notion to look for this cookbook, and lo and behold, there was a copy. I felt as if Mom had tapped me on the shoulder to say “Happy Birthday.”

Of course I bought it and this recipe has been returned to our family. I’ll make these tomorrow, Thanksgiving 2014, because my brother and I will be together to celebrate and remember.

I must also say that in the same cookbook I found the tuna fish casserole with potato chip topping that I despised as a child. I will not be making that one any time soon.

A very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours here in the U.S., and my apologies to my Canadian friends, who celebrated Thanksgiving on October 13th this year.

And just in case you’ve been looking for this recipe for as long as I did? Or just want something new tomorrow or at Christmas time. Here’s the recipe to enjoy.

Statler Rum Rolls:


3/4 cup milk, scalded

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup shortening (I use butter.)

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pkg dry yeast

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 teaspoon rum extract/flavoring

3 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour (remember sifters?)


For Filling:

2 Tablespoons melted butter or margarine

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup raisins


For icing:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon rum flavoring

2 Tablespoons hot water



Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Cool to lukewarm.

Sprinkle yeast in lukewarm water and let stand 5-10″ (Not necessary with instant yeast today.)

Add yeast mix to milke, beat smooth with mixer or by handAdd egg and 1 1/2 tsp rum flavoring.

Add half of flour and beat until smooth. Repeat with remainder of flour.

Cover with towel and let rise in warm place until double


Roll dough into two strips 12: x 4: x 1/2″

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar and raisins.

Roll each like jelly roll from long side. Keep edges even.

Pinch open edge to side of the roll. (Should be 15″ long.)


Cut rolls into 3/4″ slices.

Place cut side down in greased 3″ muffin tins. Cover with towel.

Let rise in warm place until double.


Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. While hot brush with icing ingredients.

Makes about 18.


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