Amanda Salisbury

Fiction, Life, Opinion, Art, Non-fiction

Book Camp 2018, Day 5

Every good thing comes to an end. So must book camp. Because I can really only keep up with these five for a week. We also have tomorrow as a day of play and freedom. Hooray!


In our family, at least three generations of us have enjoyed a scrumptious Christmas morning meal of bubble bread. More recently, it’s sold in stores or named in recipes as monkey bread. I will forever call it bubble bread because it at least looks like bubbles. There are no monkeys in the making of the dish, I promise.

After I married I began changing the recipe a little at a time. Less of this. More of that. Assembled this way, not that way. So now I have the bubble bread recipe perfect for me.

Today, we began by shrinking the recipe so that each of us could make a tiny three-roll bubble bread of our own. We began with a basic recipe and a ratio of dry and wet ingredients. Then we discussed what purpose each ingredient serves and each child decided what to retain and what to substitute. Finally, each child selected items to add on.

With our perfect-for-us recipes in hand, we practiced letting go. We placed each little recipe in a bowl, shook them around, then picked them out. With someone else’s recipe in hand, we changed one thing–an addition, a substitution, or a subtraction. Then we handed the recipes back to their owners and proceeded to bake.

We made our toppings, poured them over our rising rolls. And waited.


If Ron Chernow could not have let go of his research and writing, he would not have made the book that is Alexander Hamilton. And Lin-Manuel Miranda would not have read the thing.

If Ron Chernow had not let go of the creation that is Alexander Hamilton, we might not have a musical, at least not one that benefitted from his experience and input.

If Lin-Manuel Miranda had not let go of his lyrics, he would not have collaborated with other professionals to make Hamilton: An American Musical. He may never have put them into the world.

If Lin-Manuel Miranda had not let go of his singular vision for the musical, how many other voices and ideas would have been silenced? How different would the result have been? Would it have been successful if it had no other fingerprints on it at all?

Now that Hamilton is out in the world, there’s a moment-by-moment letting go. Fanfiction. Licensed and unlicensed artwork both for sale and not.

The work is Miranda’s but the thing now belongs to all of us. Not in any legal sense. Not that we have the right to tickets or downloads or artwork. But we all have our own interpretations now. Our own thoughts and theories and embellishments. That’s the part that belongs to us. Miranda has no rights to it and no control over it. He had to let go enough to let us grab hold.


We have a poem set to music. A pop song turned to a musical number. A folk song turned narrative turned comic. A Hamilton song turned comic. A fairy tale turned comic.

Do you sense a theme?

They are not final drafts. They are imperfect. And they are excellent! Beautiful. Ingenious. And none of that is the point.

The point is that they did the thing.

You should too. And finish. And let go. So we all can grab hold.


All week, Friday night has read TBD. The kids are all five alphas, though how that happened I’ve no clue. They do not like uncertainty. But when it came down to it, we didn’t determine much. Movies, butterbeer, leftovers. Win!


Bubble Bread – Book Camp 2018 Recipe
  • 21 frozen dinner rolls (we use Rhodes because SO good)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 cup butter, melted
  • 1/8 cup heavy cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a bundt pan and set it on a cookie sheet.
  2. Arrange frozen rolls evenly within the circle of the pan. Allow to partially thaw until the rolls appear wet and sticky. They will not have risen much if at all.
  3. Combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom.
  4. Stir melted butter and heavy cream into sugar mixture.
  5. Poor butter-cream-sugar mixture over rolls.
  6. Allow rolls to rise, probably for 4 or so hours. As the rolls rise, return the mixture to the top of the rolls as it tries to roll off.
  7. Bake in pan on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool 5 minutes. Turn out on cookie sheet. Enjoy.

Variations: You want to keep the dry and liquid ingredients roughly in the same proportions.

  • To use chocolate sauce, replace some or all of the butter and/or cream. Same for melted butterscotch, jams, or coffee.
  • To use cocoa powder, replace some of the sugars.
  • To add flavoring, such as almond extract, short your butter or cream and add one teaspoonful of the flavoring.
  • To use honey, replace sugars.

Whenever possible, use really good butter. I like Kerry Gold, unsalted, for baking. Quality of butter makes a difference.

  • 1 litre cream soda
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 Tablespoon imitation butter flavoring*

Mix all ingredients in a 9×13 glass dish while the dish is in the freezer. Allow to freeze. Stir occasionally. Serve alone or with topping (below).

*I know. This seems gross. And usually I’d agree it is gross. But butterbeer is the exception. Butterbeer requires this ingredient.

Butterbeer Topping
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch ice cream topping or 1/8 cup maple syrup

Whip together until desired consistency. A hand mixer is helpful. Use to top butterbeer.

Now. Go make something!

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Writer. Lawyer. Relative. Friend.

Curious. Detailed. Occasionally funny.


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