Echoing Oprah’s confession in a Weight Watcher’s commercial: “I love bread.”
I’ve tried to quit or limit my bread intake for no other reason than all those damn health articles telling me to. Over the years I’ve made all the necessary dietary changes. Went from whole milk to plant-based milks, white sugar to brown sugar to agave to drinking my tea plain. Substituted white bread to wheat or multigrain bread. I miss Wonder Bread like no one’s business. I remember the good ol’ days when I’d enjoy a ham and cheese with Miracle Whip or mayonnaise on the softness of Wonder Bread. Mmm mmm!
Once I stopped buying deli meat and sliced cheese (mmm, gooey grilled cheese), my bread intake reduced. I started freezing the bags and using slices when needed. A few years ago, because of a food program, I switched to Ezekiel bread, which is supposedly healthier for a variety of reasons. It’s not my favorite, but tastes great with PB&J.
The first time I heard of King’s Hawaiian was on a 2015 episode of The Celebrity Apprentice. The teams on the now-defunct show hosted by the now-defunct 45 were tasked with coming up with a marketing campaign to revive the struggling brand. Neither moved me enough to buy a bag. When I finally tasted it, I wanted to kick myself for missing out on this sweet goodness all these years. It’s better than the brown bread served at Cheesecake Factory. I’ve heard slander against it, but I will not have it! That bread is at top of the list of what I miss about Cheesecake Factory. The sweet buns also remind me of the garlic-butter rolls served with lunch in elementary school.
King’s Hawaiian rolls can be enjoyed with or without butter. Straight out of the fridge or warmed slightly in the toaster. More often than not, I’m too greedy to wait for the toaster and eat it chilly. A bad habit I have is putting a smattering of butter, taking a bite, then adding more butter to take another bite. Unhealthy, I know, but we all have our vices. It could be drugs! Pre-pandemic, I only allowed myself to buy the mini four packs. They take my homemade turkey sliders with avocado and bacon (side of sweet potato fries) to another level. It was gluttonous to buy a family pack of 12 for just little ol’, single me. I’ve been on a never-ending quest to get Janet Jackson “If” music video abs. Bread is a roadblock. As are some other favorites…
Well, worried of being gluttonous flew out the window back in January. This pandemic has been hard for people worldwide. For some of us, add the extra stress layers of sheltering in place alone, going through a break-up, and not seeing family and friends. Days before Christmas, I received news of a passing. My 2021 opened with a funeral.
A friend, knowing this and knowing that food is my love language, sent me a box of King’s Hawaiian. When I say a box, I mean a box box. You don’t even understand the confusion when I saw the large box in the hallway and the surprise to discover it was light as a feather and the glee when I saw the King’s Hawaiian sticker. Raise your hand, if like me, you didn’t know you could order directly from King’s Hawaiian. Check out the site and feast your eyes on their selections.
My inconsistent neighborhood supermarket sometimes carries King’s Hawaiian hamburger rolls. The four- and dozen-packs are Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and Savory Butter Rolls. In my gifted box were two bags of sliced bread, four 12-packs of rolls, and the brain buster of all: 2 bags of English muffins. I had no clue King’s Hawaiian made English muffins! Nor did I know they made flavors other than original and butter. Judging by the gasps of others when I shared the news, they didn’t know either. In addition to the aforementioned roll flavors, this marvelous package from my dear friend included Hawaiian Jalapeno and Honey Wheat rolls.
My mind started racing with all the good times I was about to have with these rolls. The pipe dreams of achieving abs were already just that—pipe dreams. They could remain as such as I embarked on this experience of these majestic King’s Hawaiian products. For Thanksgiving, I had made stuffing for the first time ever, using KH rolls sauteed with onions, carrots, and celery. I drizzled maple syrup into the mix before I baked it. A few weeks before my package arrived, I made the saddest French Toast in the history of man. Using Ezekiel bread might’ve been the culprit, but my cousin also said I oversoaked it in the batter. I planned to redeem myself to myself with the KH sliced bread. My mouth was already watering.
I had to freeze them before they grew mold or went stale. My brain almost short-circuited when I tried to decide which I would consume first. Should I make variety packs with the four flavors or just eat them one bag at a time? Leave in the plastic bags or transfer to glass bowls? I had to rearrange my freezer to make room. Everything new had to be frozen because I already had a pack in the fridge from my last grocery run.
KH rolls are soft and fluffy and susceptible to being smushed. Getting home and discovering flattened KH rolls is on par with cracked eggs, bruised pears, and smashed grapes. If the bread is leveled when frozen they would remain that way. And remain that way they did. It was Freezer Tetris stacking them. I have the type of fridge that has a (small) freezer on top. It’s my middle-aged dream to move into a place with stainless steel appliances, one of which is a fridge with side-by-side doors. It’s newer than my childhood dream of having a kitchen door that swings both ways like in The Cosby Show.
The rolls were smushed, but no less delicious after warming in my air fryer. It has a toaster oven feature. I often enjoy them as a late-night snack or with soup. ‘Tis the season, even though I rarely leave my apartment and Spring is supposedly around the corner. I successfully redeemed myself in the French Toast department. I made four slices. I don’t like syrup, so coated it with powdered sugar leftover from my carrot cake tour de force for my birthday last April. The English Muffins taste like heaven. The sweetness mixed with melted buttery goodness…excuse me, is this allowed? I’m down to one pack. I’m determined to learn how to poach eggs to make eggs benedict with smoked salmon on King’s Hawaiian English Muffin. When I complete this feat, I’m updating my LinkedIn and including it in my next dating app profile.
Sucks that I have no one to share all this delicious goodness with. As such, my poor friend receives a text almost every time I partake. I want her to know her gift that keeps on giving is appreciated. Each time I finish a bag, I post in my Instagram stories. My audience knows how much I love books and King’s Hawaiian. I jokingly said I’d join the frivolous class action lawsuit alleging deceptive advertising. Who cares that the rolls aren’t made in Hawaii (anymore)? They’re still delicious. I’d rather use those lawyer fees for another trip to Hawaii. Maui was gorgeous.
Food has been one of my comforts throughout this whole stupid “panorama” (pandemic). I’ve cooked, baked, ordered delivery enough for a family, but it’s all just for me. Thanks to the vaccines, it seems like an end is in sight, even if months away. Until then and even afterwards, this Queen is holding onto her sanity and her King’s Hawaiian.