This past week, here in Brown County, Ohio, we were threatened with a wintery mix—freezing rain. And the weathermen were right. On Wednesday, I woke to my cedar trees on the property looking like flop-eared bunnies. It brought back terror. Remember when we had the ice storm of all ice storms? We thought people were shooting guns in the woods, only to learn it was tree limbs snapping off from the heavy load of ice on their branches—blocking roads and taking down power lines. For four days we were without electric. Those four days are a real blur. I remember we cooked from a grill on the front porch. The wind was so cold and stiff; it blew the flame out constantly. We sat around in hats, coats and gloves and blankets. Never in my entire life had we ever had to endure such survival tactics, but we survived. And we learned others endured it much longer than we had.
When we are snowed in or iced in, as the case was this week, it makes me focus on staying home and provokes a sense of wanting to be homey. Is homey a feeling? Why yes it is. And when I feel homey, I focus on what makes me happy when I stay home. This morning, it became the desire to fix a home cooked breakfast. I decided on fresh farm eggs in my cast-iron skillet, but not toast again. Instead, I decided to make homemade biscuits since I had no canned ones, and after all, I was in no hurry.
Most people are thinking who does that? “Biscuits are too messy to fool with.” But today while I made my biscuits I was remembering Aunt Nancy in North Carolina, her biscuit making so simple. She made biscuits so often she told me that she kept a large red-rimmed, white porcelain dishpan full of flour all the time. When she was ready to make biscuits she did it right in the flour-well she made in it. Adding ingredients one by one, mixing with her hand. Then instead of rolling them out, she just simply dropped them by large blobs onto a greased baking sheet.
Well, her method made biscuit making easy, but today, mine is even easier than that. In fact, I may never buy canned biscuits again. I used Ginger Evans biscuit mix. You know, the one you buy in a box and can also make pancakes and waffles from the same mix? It makes it so easy—you just add milk. No cutting in shortening or measuring out all those ingredients. And instead of “dropping them” like Aunt Nancy did, I simply decided to pat the dough to ½” thickness—I did not even get the rolling pin out—that’s what makes it messy for sure, all that flour all over the place rolling those suckers out.
“Yeah, but I don’t have a biscuit cutter,” you might be saying. So, just grab a glass from the cabinet. In less than 5 minutes of prep while the oven preheated, I was ready to bake homemade biscuits. No joke. A few minutes before they were ready to come out, I gently brushed the tops with a bit of butter to brown them nicely.
My jumbo biscuits were puffed up a mile high—okay, you’re right, maybe an exaggeration perhaps (LOL) but they were lovely and fluffy and scrumptious no less. And then, as always, another memory surfaced. After eating my egg with my first biscuit, the ritual began: I then cut a pat of softened butter just like I had watched Daddy do in the farmhouse kitchen of my youth and placing it on my plate I drizzled honey over it. Then with fork in hand, I smashed and whipped it creating a honey-butter mixture. Then just like Daddy, I parted my biscuit and lathered it generously—just like I had watched my late father do many years ago eating it while he seriously searched the classified section of the News Democrat for an ad he had placed with them for his feeder pigs. Sigh. Etched in my mind, that memory never dies though it took place in the sixties and now Daddy has been gone almost seven years now. Sigh followed by a smile.
|The memory never fades.|
Everyday, we are storing memories in our memory banks and making memories for others, and us, sometimes unbeknownst to us. Be sure you strive to make them good ones. And in all things… Take Joy!
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Sherry is a regular contributor to The Brown County Press her local newspaper in Mt. Orab, Ohio. You can follow her blog at www.sherryphillipsmitchell.com or her Facebook page Take Joy!
She has recently published her book: My Farmhouse Journal: Memories and Recipes available on Amazon and other major book seller sites.