It seems that the older I get the more I begin to understand my parents. Also, it seems that I am slowly turning into my parents, which is three things: alarming, seemingly unavoidable, and a topic for another time.
I will say, though, that we had a wonderful weekend. We showed them around town and ate at some of our favorite restaurants. And on Sunday, when the clouds crept back in to settle over the city, we didn't even mind. The rain allowed us a cozy afternoon which we spent curled up at the Panama Hotel drinking tea and making up our own rules to Spanish Scrabble, and although Jimmy beat us by a long shot and my dad took upwards of what felt like an hour each time his turn came around, we had fun.
It was such a lovely afternoon, in fact, that just looking at this picture, knowing that the scene is over, dishes put away, game packed up and the box shoved into its rightful place under the table, I feel sort of on the verge of choking back a tear or two. I also feel greatly relieved that my dad has now returned to
and that I can’t see his face when he finds out that I have just outed him as the slowest scrabble player e v e r. Arizona
The rain also allowed us a cozy Sunday morning at home, the kind of morning perfect for long cups of coffee, passing around the newspaper, and immoderate eating. And since any girl worth her salt knows that homemade biscuits are a good way to show affection, I baked up a batch using my all time favorite recipe.
They’re not hip, nor are they flashy, but I love them anyway, maybe even for that very reason. They’re humble and reassuring and so, so delicious. They’re quite simple to make too. You combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, work in the shortening, add the wet ingredients, throw a little flour on your hands to shape the dough into small spheres which you then throw in the pan and stick into the oven. Twenty minutes later they emerge: golden brown, slightly tangy, soft and bright, and absolutely perfect for a smear of jam or honey. Just thinking about them makes me weak in the knees, really, I could go on and on about these humble beauties but that would only delay you in reaching for your mixing bowl and getting to work and, well, that’s just rude.
Touch of Grace Biscuits
Adapted from “CookWise” by Shirley O. Corriher
Courtesy of The New York Times
Nonstick Cooking Spray
2 cups self-rising Southern flour (I like White Lily)
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk, or as needed
1 cup all-purpose flour (not self-rising)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Arrange a shelf slightly below the center of your oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the self-rising flour, sugar, and salt. Work the shortening in with your fingers until there are no large lumps and the dough is course and grainy. Gently stir in the cream and the buttermilk. At this point the dough will look like wet cottage cheese. If it looks too dry, add a little more buttermilk.
Let dough sit for a minute and spread the all-purpose flour (not self-rising) on a plate or other dry and clean surface. Use a medium ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup and place 2-3 scoops of dough in the flour. Sprinkle flour over each scoop, flour your hands, and shape a ball with each scoop of dough. Shake off excess flour and place each ball in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough. Biscuits should be touching one another in the pan. Brush with melted butter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Brush tops of biscuits with more melted butter if desired. Invert onto a plate and cut quickly between biscuits to make them easy to remove. Serve immediately.
Yield: 12-14 biscuits