My childhood memories are rife with food memories. The memories of interpersonal interactions somehow often disappoint, but the food memories live on. Chocolate cream roll, calzone, enchiladas, apple pie, cinnamon rolls, "goodness sake cookies," home made egg nog, etc., etc., etc. When I think back on my childhood it is the food memories that leap most pleasantly to mind and make the mouth water for tastes that are long gone and can't be recreated, either because the recipe isn't right or because my own taste buds have dulled with age.
One of my favorite foods was hockies. You'd call it fried bread dough, but in our house it was "hockies," so named by my great grandmother (whom I don't remember). It was a special treat when my mother made hockies for breakfast. She was not a bread maker, but we were 3 blocks from a bakery and she would call and order a pound of bread dough and I would be dispatched to go and get it, bring it home, and in short order my mother would be standing at the stove pulling off chunks of dough, flattening them out into little pancake shapes and then deep frying them. We would watch the edges puff up as the dough turned from that pasty white to a golden brown. The smell of baking bread surely is one of the best in the world, but the smell of fried bread dough comes up a close second.
Karen and I would sit at the kitchen table and wait for the plate of hockies to be served and then we would dive in, grab a hockie and slather it with real butter. No jam or powdered sugar or anything else to fancy up the treat, just butter and lots of it. And eat them fast because a cold hockie can't begin to compare with a hot hockie.
My adult size may be explained by the number of years I ate hockies for breakfast and the contests Karen and I used to have to see who could eat the most (I think my peak was 8-10).
I have made hockies as an adult and it is one past memory that can be recreated, but I don't think I made them often for our kids and I make them less often for Walt and me. The reason is simply that I can probably eat 8 of them, and polish off 1/8 stuck of butter doing it, and there isn't a single healthy thing about the indulgence.
But whenever I make bread for any reason, pizza or dinner rolls or whatever, I always save out a hunk of dough so we can have hockies the next morning. We had hockies a week or so ago, in fact.
Last night I decided that I would make hockies for breakfast this morning and herein is a description of the depth of my obsession and how much like a drug addiction it can become. I wouldn't be making bread dough just for hockies, of course. We are out of white bread, my preference. Walt buys whole wheat for himself and I just don't like whole wheat bread. So I'd make a big batch of white bread dough, take about 1/4 of it for hockies, and shape the rest into a loaf to bake regular bread.
Making hockies, of course, requires timing. I could not, for example, put the ingredients for bread in the bread maker and go to sleep, tending to it when I woke up. The maker, on the dough setting, takes 2 hours to turn out perfectly kneaded bread dough, ready to make hockies and if the machine goes longer than 2 hours, it bakes your bread loaf for you. So you can't do it at night and if you want them for breakfast, you have to figure out how early you need to get up to do it.
I went to sleep deciding that when I woke up, which usually happens some time around 5 a.m., at which point I switch from couch to recliner, I would detour through the kitchen, throw the ingredients into the bread maker and then go back to sleep and when I woke up the dough would be all ready.
I actually did wake up at 5 a.m. but was so sleepy, I decided to see if I could go back to sleep for another hour, figuring that it would still be the right time for the hockies to be prepared and ready to be fried. I didn't get back to sleep again because I was thinking about the hockies, so I finally got up at 5:45, went into the kitchen to start the hockie making process.
Only I couldn't find my bread cookbook. Now I have lots of bread cookbooks, but my go-to recipe is from my bread bible, "Bread Machine Magic," by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway. When all of us on CompuServe were getting into bread machines some 20 or so years ago, we all bought this book and agreed it was the best of the best. My copy is now badly stained, with pages falling out of it and I keep thinking I should replace it, but I never do. Now it was missing. I looked everywhere. I even moved furniture to see if it had fallen off the bookshelf onto the floor. I found four other cookbooks, but not "Bread Machine Magic."
By now I was way more awake than I intended to be while waiting for my ingredients to knead themselves into bread dough. The dogs, who always let me sleep in, were also awake because of all the activity in the kitchen, thinking maybe they were supposed to be eating early. (When I ignored them, they all glared at me, mumbled and went back to bed.)
In a panic now, I first went to Amazon and ordered a new copy of the "Bread Machine Magic" -- I needed a new one anyway -- (which I found for under $4 with free shipping because of my Amazon Prime membership). Then I started looking through my other bread cookbooks for a recipe like the one I use all the time and couldn't find one, but I decided to alter one to what I though I remembered about the go-to recipe. I got out the container from the bread machine, measured in the water and the milk and put it into the canister. Next I went to get the flour and discovered I was out of flour. Almost completely. I think there might have been 1/4 cup of flour in the container. There would be no hockies today after all.
Then I started to think about going out for donuts as a fried bread substitute. But going out for donuts meant getting dressed and as today is a day when I have nothing on my schedule but sitting here and writing two theater reviews, I didn't want to have to get dressed early. I thought of making Bisquick cinnamon rolls but that would be a biscuit texture and my mouth was set for a yeasty texture.
Nothing appealed to my "mouth hunger" for hockies, so I went to have some tortilla chips with some apple salsa I picked up at the Ikeda fruit market a couple of days ago. When I picked up the bag of chips I found the "Bread Machine Magic" book under the bag.