If you look closely at the recipe card below, you can see that I wrote this recipe for No Knead Refrigerator Rolls in my neatest 8th grade handwriting in Hour III Home Ec class. (You can also see it cost $0.14 per serving!) In fact, this old recipe box is even filled with a few recipes cards from from my high school home ec too. That’s right, home ec class; and I had no idea how lucky I was to have these practical classes (re-named Family and Consumer Science class in 1994) in both junior high and high school. But according to a brilliant article, Bring Back Home Ec in this month’s issue of Cooking Light magazine, only about 25% of students currently participate in this nutrition/cooking/home-budgeting and life-skills class. Yet as one of my former professors at Tufts University pointed out in the article, since 1980, as traditional home ec classes waned, the rate of obesity among children ages 2 to 19 tripled. The fact that most kids no longer learn basic nutrition skills in school is likely a component of this association.
I’m not saying it was all because of exposure to home ec, but out of my small high school graduating class of 103, five of us went on to become registered dietitians! Granted I learned a lot of cooking/baking skills from my Mom, but I do know our class was learning something about baking at age 13. And the reason is the way in which this No Knead Refrigerator Rolls recipe was written. I’ve included extra instructions in the recipe below, but the original reads “2 hours before baking, shape dough and let rise. Bake 12-15 min on greased sheet.” And that’s it. As a professional recipe developer, I know the recipe contains not nearly enough info for a first-time baker to turn out perfectly, golden brown dinner rolls!
Over the years, I’ve adapted this super easy no-knead (and thus no-fail!) recipe to include whole wheat flour – and they turn out a little heavier than the original version. (So use all-purpose flour only if you want lighter rolls.) But since I don’t seem to get around to baking homemade bread for my kids’ lunches, so I find this to be a healthy, fast, delicious solution! Thanks Mrs. Olmstead! (I can’t remember many things these days, but I can remember the name of my home ec teacher from some 20-plus years ago!)
Did you have home ec classes? What did you learn that you still use today?