Thinking about what we know and carry with us that someone taught us. Anything- large or small. As a DIY space we often emphasize what we teach ourselves, but the experience of time during Covid-19 resurfaces memories and leads to reflection on lineage whether it be blood or chosen family.
Something I know and carry with me is how to make biscuits supreme. Shoutout to my one and only mom!
Recipe: 2 cups all purpose flour, 4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, 2 tsp sugar, 1/2 cup shortening, 2/3 cup milk.
Heat oven to 450. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Cut in the shortening till like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour the milk in all at once. Stir quickly with a fork till the dough follows the fork around bowl. Turn onto lightly floured surface. Knead gently 10-12 strokes. Roll dough till about 3/4 inch thick. Cut out biscuits, bake 10-12 minutes on an ungreased pan till golden on top.
Notes: If you’ve never done something before and someone isn’t teaching you, there’s a sense of mystery and doubt about what words mean, like “how big are coarse crumbs??” They are about the size of peas though not the round shape necessarily. Team crisco, though biscuits can be made with many different fats. If you dont have AC make sure your crisco isn’t melty when you’re cutting it in- it needs to be a waxy solid to do that cool geological air-void-from-hot-fat thing that makes flaky pastry.
I always hear her voice with the milk-“ all at once!” and the dough follows the fork like a neighborhood cat. She said to not make dough when you’re upset. Knead gently is the truth- I always count do I don’t go over 12. You can roll and cut out biscuits with practically anything- I’ve used bodega candles and jars. The bottom cooks faster than the top- the tops are a pale golden really if you want the inside to be soft and steamy. You can make a meal out of these and practically anything you’ve got.
See full video of biscuitmaking on instagram
Many of my favorite recipes are still on identical index cards : handwritten, a bit blurry and smattered with spills. Like yours these cards are more than cooking data, the are evidence of the care and truths our mothers and grandmothers shared with us. Still in use they are truly family treasures.