This is a story of love, fun…and dough.
It begins many, many years ago as my mother, red-headed and freckle faced, stood in her grandmother’s kitchen kneading biscuit dough in a dough bowl that had been carved out from a log and sanded down to a smooth surface, her hands, small and smooth, working alongside her grandmother’s hands, wrinkled and worn with age. She learned how to bake without measuring. She learned how to be patient as she wanted for the biscuits to bake. She felt her grandmother’s love in a small kitchen over a hot oven.
Fast forward about 25 years later to a cozy kitchen in rural Mississippi and you will see me, a blonde haired little girl, who purposefully woke up early to beat my siblings to the kitchen so I could be the one to help make breakfast that morning, and my mother, tall, slender, and still red-headed. Racing to and fro in the kitchen, I eagerly help gather ingredients for the biscuits.
My mother measures out the flour and hands me the measuring cup to dump the flour into a bowl. Next comes the shortening. Mother explains, “We don’t want too much shortening – it will make your biscuits crumbly,” as we scoop it out of the blue Crisco can. After cutting the shortening into the flour, we pour in the milk and stir it all together. Next, came my favorite part, kneading and cutting out the biscuits. I sprinkle flour on the red topped laminate table and mother scraped the dough out of the bowl and we would begin to knead until the dough was a smooth, round ball. We’d pat out the dough with our hands and begin cutting out the biscuits with a mason jar ring, making the perfect sized biscuit. On to the large flat cast iron pan they would go and into the oven. For 20 minutes the house would fill with the smell of raw dough turning into flaky, light, slightly golden brown biscuits.Standing in a flour dusted kitchen with doughy fingers my mother taught me so much more than how to make a delicious biscuit.
She taught me love, tenderness, patience. She taught me to spend time with my children, sharing with them simple things that in later years will mean so much. She taught me to see the beauty and joy in sharing those simple things.
Fast forward 20 years later to a different, but still cozy, kitchen in Winston-Salem, NC and you will see me and a curly red-headed two year girl standing over a bowl of dough, the same way her grandmother and I did. Look closely and you’ll see love being kneaded into those biscuits…look closer and you’ll see a little girl’s bright blue eyes shining with delight and glee as she steals biscuit dough to eat!