The happiness of a good piece of cinnamon bread – Albert Lea Tribune

Every Little Thing, by April Jeppson

When I was little, the town where I grew up had a bakery. I remember going there as a kid and loving the smell of fresh bread and sweets. It was the place to go if grandma couldn’t cook it for you. Today, I no longer need to go to a bakery if I want a cookie or a loaf of fresh bread.

april jeppson

These days, grocery stores and even gas stations carry delicious fresh baked goods. I discovered the best baked chocolate chip cookies at a gas station just a few months ago. I couldn’t believe how good they were, and they were hiding right next to the crate.

I’ve been to fancy grocery stores over the years – you know the ones with carpeting and soft music? They have treats and food from all over the world. There are so many options and choices available. Then you have the big truck stops with daily delivery of the sweetest glazed donuts. It would be easy to think that bakeries are a thing of the past. Who needs a dedicated baker when you have access to so much goodness elsewhere?

I do. I need the bakery, and I’ll tell you why.

My hometown still has a bakery. It’s not the same one I grew up with; in fact, there were a few years when there was no bakery at all. I say “a few years” but it could have been five or 20 years, I don’t know the specifics because I was a kid and didn’t pay much attention to it – or rather I’m April and sometimes I don’t pay attention.

The donuts and treats from our bakery rival those you’ll find in the big cities. It’s a real gem in a town of only a few hundred people. But I’m not writing this about a donut. By the way, I would totally spend 600 words writing on a good donut. Or a good sandwich, or a soup, or frankly, if you know me a little, I will tell you with infectious enthusiasm about almost any food that I have found delicious.

I write about their cinnamon roll.

You guys are so good. When I go up north and stay with my parents, I started looking forward to it like I look forward to family taco night or my dad’s fish fries. It has become a must. In the morning, when I start the “What’s for breakfast” cabinet opening routine, my first door to open is the one with the bread. I’m looking for a loaf of bakery fresh cinnamon bread, cut into 1 inch slices.

The bread is so thick it barely fits in the toaster. But as it cooks, you can hear the sugar sizzle as it caramelizes on top of the slice. The smell is intoxicating as it not only fills the kitchen, but my kids stick their heads out from the porch and ask if there’s more. Apply butter to the hot slice and let it seep into every nook and cranny…

I love cinnamon toast. I’ve bought it from a few different places and tried all kinds of recipes. They all smell great when you cook them, but the flavor just isn’t there when it’s time to take a bite. This is the first bread I’ve ever had where I didn’t feel like I had to sprinkle extra cinnamon and sugar on the bread. It’s perfect with just a little melted butter.

I’ve already eaten half a loaf myself since I got home. This weekend, I can’t wait to turn a loaf into French bread. I bought five loaves to take home, and I have no regrets or shame about it. Honestly, this might be one of the best life choices I’ve made lately.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mother, coach and dream maker. His column appears every Saturday.

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