Margaret Button | Kitchen Comfort: An easy-to-make pepperoni roll

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At the Labor Day weekend reunion of the Button family in Pittsburgh, food reigned supreme. We Massachusetts Buttons arrived at my nephew Peter's house shortly before 11 a.m. on Saturday. We had just had breakfast at the Bob Evans restaurant next to our motel and our stomachs were full of sausage and gravy with biscuits, home fries and eggs.



After hugging everyone and meeting the third generation of Buttons, my sister-in-law, Jule insisted I have a jelly doughnut. "They're as close to Neville's doughnuts in North Adams that I've found," she told me. If there was a bigger aficionado of Neville's double-stuffed jelly doughnuts — powdered sugar-covered, not granulated sugar-covered — than me, it was Julie. Linda and John Neville, and my husband and I, had perfected the art of shipping doughnuts to her in southeastern Ohio.



I tried one of the Pittsburgh doughnuts and jelly oozed out of delectable pastry ... she was right! The only thing was they lacked the slightly crispy crunch on the outside that Neville's had. I can live with that; now I have to talk my nephew and his wife into mailing them north.



Before we knew it, it was 1 p.m. and a sandwich buffet appeared. So, we all dug in. There were snacks all afternoon (and another jelly doughnut) and then a huge spaghetti and meatball dinner. One of the grandnieces was celebrating her birthday and there was birthday cake, lemon blueberry cake and my sister-in-law had recreated her mom's cheesecake. They had to literally roll us out the door that night.



As I reported in my last column, my nephew Peter outdid himself the next day with his sriracha pulled pork, grilled chicken and his Grandma Button's coleslaw. They rolled us out the door for the second night in a row.



My niece Chrissy's West Virginia pepperoni rolls were the hit of the day Saturday — for as long as they lasted. I waited too long (since when is an hour too long?) and missed out. The pepperoni roll originated in 1927 when Giuseppe "Joseph" Argiro made them and sold them at the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, W.Va. Argiro originally had invented the pepperoni roll as a lunch for the local coal miners. The coal miners liked them because they had protein and fat for energy and satisfied their hunger, and they didn't need to be kept cold, which made them easy to take to the mines with no other preparation needed for them.



What follows is Chrissy's recipe for the rolls (which she posted on the family messenger group) and the subsequent reply from her brother, Peter.



Pepperoni rolls — West Virginia state food

This is my preferred recipe, but there are lots of variations.

I start with frozen Rhodes dinner rolls. Allow to thaw, but not rise. Flatten and place four slices of pepperoni and a bit of provolone cheese (my favorite kind, it melts perfectly). Roll up and pinch dough together. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. There will undoubtedly be melted cheese oozing out. No one will ever know about that part here because the "chef" takes care of that little problem! Bonus! My advice, if someone makes these, even if you're not hungry, take one. They don't last! (Now she tells me ...)

Peter: That is too funny about the cheese, Chrissy!

Chrissy: Oh no! The secret is out!

Peter replied with three emojis laughing so hard they were crying.

You have to love this family ...












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