peninsula community library, omps, clarissa boursaw, deni hooper, virginia hubbell, old mission peninsula, old mission, old mission michigan, peninsula township, cinnamon rolls, old mission gazette
Pictured left to right, Clarissa Boursaw, Virginia Hubbell and Deni Hooper stocking shelves at Peninsula Community Library, circa 1957.

As anyone who went to Old Mission Peninsula School during the 1960s and 1970s knows, the cooks there – Clarissa Boursaw, Lucile Lindsey and Jo Brown – made all the food right there from scratch, including their legendary cinnamon rolls.

I posted Lucile Lindsey’s recipe for cinnamon rolls a couple of years ago (click here to see it – thanks to her daughter Helen Mumford for passing it along), and today let’s take a look at Clarissa Boursaw’s recipe. I don’t know exactly which recipe was used for the OMPS kids, but you can’t go wrong either way.

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Clarissa Boursaw’s Cinnamon Rolls | OMP Recipe Archives

I didn’t really know Clarissa that well, because she passed away shortly after her grandson Tim and I got together. But our daughter Marissa Jane’s name is a blending of many women on both sides of the family, including Tim’s mom Jane, my mom Mary Louise, and of course, Clarissa.

Tims says everything in Clarissa’s own kitchen was home-made, including bread, cookies, even butter. Tim remembers churning butter for her when he was a kid. She and her husband Garrett had a big garden, and as with many OMPers back then, they put up all their own food. “She was a perfect fit in the kitchen at the school,” says Tim.

Back when OMPS went through 8th grade, the kids in those higher classes at the end of the hall ate lunch in their rooms. Mr. Lindsey (Lucile’s husband Bob, who was the custodian) would wheel a big cart down the hallway, and the cart had a countertop with everything on it, including the food heated in trays.

Clarissa came along with the cart and would serve the kids by herself. “Everyone remembers her banging her spoon on the cart to keep the kids in line,” says Tim.

When she wasn’t in the school kitchen, Clarissa was working in the library, as shown in the photo above, left, with Virginia Hubbell, center, and Deni Hooper, right.

Clarissa Boursaw’s Cinnamon Rolls

1 1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening
1/3 c. dry milk
2 pkgs. yeast
2 beaten eggs
4 1/2 c. flour

Sift dry ingredients. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add melted shortening and half the dry mixture. Beat a little and add beaten eggs. Beat and add rest of dry mix.

Turn onto floured board and knead until smooth and satiny, adding flour if needed. Put dough in greased bowl. Brush lightly with soft fat and cover. Let rise at room temp. until double.

Roll on floured board into an oblong about 1/2 in. thick. Spread with softened, not melted butter. Sprinkle with white or brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll tightly and cut into inch slices. They may be set closely together on cake pans or kept further apart on cookie pans. If you do it the latter way, flatten them with the palm of your hand as you put them on the pan. Either way, the pans should be greased generously.

Because the brown sugar in rolls causes them to burn easier than white sugar, I bake them in iron skillets and avoid burning. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 min. Remove from pans at once. If you wish frosted rolls, use a confectioners sugar icing, and spread on while warm.

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  1. What I remember as a very young girl in visiting the Boursaw’s ( usually because Shirley was babysitting us) was the tin of bacon fat on the back of the stove. It was just like my Grandmother’s. They used it for all things fried.


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