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The Holidays After Harvey

But what about the cinnamon rolls?

Deborah Lynn Blumberg
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Missy McClure, Avery McClure, Kendall McClure

A SWEET CHRISTMAS Kitchen or not, Missy McClure will bake her special cinnamon buns this season for her daughters, Kendall, 8, and Avery, 11. (Photo:

Missy McClure can’t imagine Christmas morning without her cinnamon rolls. Every year, her daughters, Avery, 11, and Kendall, 8, run downstairs in their pajamas to open the presents Santa left under the Christmas tree the night before. McClure fires up the oven to warm the sticky cinnamon rolls she’s spent hours baking weeks before.

This year, however, the McClure kitchen is out of commission. The family is living on the second floor of their Bellaire home after Hurricane Harvey’s flood waters swept through. The McClures have cobbled together a makeshift kitchen upstairs, but it can’t handle the dozens of cinnamon rolls McClure makes. Every year she spends an entire day in her kitchen, making enough rolls to share with her friends and family.

“This is one of our holiday traditions,” said McClure. “My mom makes a cinnamon roll too, and I always had that growing up every Christmas morning.”

McClure joins other Houstonians this season who are making do without a kitchen after Hurricane Harvey.

Upstairs in the McClure home, a microwave buzzes. The family also uses a high-grade toaster oven to cook their food. Their food-prep station is on top of the dryer; they eat at a card table, and they set up a mini fridge in their third bedroom where they keep breakfast essentials. Their fridge downstairs survived the flood, and they can still use it to stock their food.

“We’re dealing,” McClure said. Neighbors have helped. One, Jill Lack, started a “Harvey Dinner Club” and prepares a meal – a main dish, a veggie and a dessert – each week for friends who were affected by the storm.

McClure is working out an alternate plan for her Christmas turkey; she may buy turkey breasts that she can squeeze into the toaster oven instead of the whole bird. But she doesn’t want to compromise on the cinnamon rolls, which she makes from a recipe by Ree Drummond, known as The Pioneer Woman, a Food Network cooking show host and writer who lives on a ranch in Oklahoma.

McClure is looking into options for where to bake her rolls this year. The ones she doesn’t give away, she will freeze and heat up on Christmas morning. Harvey or not.

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