Shannon here: Lindsey P. Brackett shares her mom’s homemade biscuit recipe. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter Monday’s drawing. Deadline: Nov 9th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Lindsey:
Mama makes biscuits atop her granite island while the late afternoon sun streams through the bay windows. Dust particles sparkle in the air. Sometimes she makes biscuits for breakfast before the last of my sleep-matted sisters have stumbled down the stairs, but more often she makes biscuits at dinnertime with a seventy pound golden retriever at her feet and a sticky toddler on the stool at the foot of the counter.
The toddler used to be mine, but now these babies belong to my sisters. Any mix of family characteristics—honeyed curls and chubby cheeks, blue eyes and dimples—may commandeer the counter stool, and as always, the aunts stand at the ready so there’s no tumble to the tiles below.
Standing guard, we watch my mama’s hands. Thin and strong and crossed with pulsed veins, nails kept short and simple, her hands roll the dough and work it into a mass of smooth and soft. Usually she rants a bit, perhaps about the broken kitchen chairs, or the high cost of gasoline to fill up her truck, or the harassment my sister used to get in high school but now faces on occasion at the grocery store. Mama mixes the dough in the same blue willow bowl her mama mixed it in, and she’ll cut it with the same quaint little wooden biscuit cutter of her childhood.
She sets the biscuits in neat rows on the same dark pan she’s always used and always complains about. She says it makes her biscuits burn. But she keeps on using it, and when I make biscuits at my house on my air bake pans, she’ll tell me my biscuits are good, but they’re not quite brown enough on the bottom. She rubs her fingers in the dredges of buttermilk at the bottom of a glass measuring cup so worn you can barely tell the difference between ¾ and ½ anymore. She’ll dab buttermilk on the tops of the biscuits that were getting too dry near the end, when the dough has been rolled three or four times and the flour makes the tops crack. She tells us the milk will smooth the cracks.
I’d like something to smooth over all the cracks in my life.
She’ll have to step over the dog to get to the oven. He believes his place is at her feet—the most dutiful of children, Jasper is. A scrap of dough may fall to the floor and he’ll figure he’s gotten his reward.
For the rest of us, there is strawberry preserves or marmalade and always, the requisite grape jelly of our childhood. When my baby sister comes to my house she complains more than my own children if I’m out of grape jelly.
These are the sacred rituals—the moments that heal our cracks. When we break bread at our family tables, despite our differences and expectations, we’re sharing more than Mama’s biscuit recipe.
We’re sharing the legacy of our childhood.
2 cups White Lily self-rising flour
1 tbsp baking powder
¼ cup Crisco or butter (Mama says a heaping spoonful of Crisco)
¾-1 cup buttermilk
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Dump flour in large bowl. Stir in baking powder and salt, then cut in butter/Crisco until mixture is crumbly like little peas. Pour in enough buttermilk to dampen then increase until dough sticks together as you stir. (A wooden spoon or your hand works best.) Sprinkle flour on clean counter and turn out dough. Knead only a couple of times—too much and they’ll be tough. Roll out with rolling pin to desired thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter or juice glass or empty jelly jar. Place on baking pan so the sides nearly touch. Brush cracks in tops with leftover buttermilk. Bake 8-10 minutes until golden-brown. Remove from oven. Biscuits should flake open easily. Serve with jam, honey, country ham, or gravy.
About Lindsey: Lindsey P. Brackett writes southern fiction infused with her rural Georgia upbringing and Lowcountry roots. Her debut novel, Still Waters, released in 2017 and was named the 2018 Selah Book of the Year. Her latest novel, The Bridge Between, released in 2019. Someday she hopes to balance motherhood and writing full-time. Until then, she’s just very grateful for her public school system.
About the book – The Bridge Between:
Louisa Coultrie Halloway has returned home as caretaker for the family home on Edisto Island, but years before she left this world behind. Now she flounders to find her place. When Liam Whiting, a local professor studying tidal creek preservation, invites Lou to join his research team, she welcomes the opportunity for purpose.
David, her ex-husband, has followed Lou and their children to Edisto. As he finds his footing in this new life, their once strained relationship eases into a familiar rhythm—and he hopes for more.
But the past still has a hold on them all, especially in the presence of Grace Watson, whose son intends to marry Lou and David’s daughter. Somehow, Grace and Lou must let the past of a shared love settle between them.
In this idyllic setting, relationships, like the creeks, deepen and shift. Once more, Lou finds herself caught between the life she’s chosen—and the love that might be meant to be.
Question for Readers: Is there a certain recipe or baking ritual that brings back childhood memories for you? Tell us about it.
Come back Nov 5th for Brenda S. Anderson!