BETTER WITH A BISCUIT
Summertime always brings with it memories of summers past, growing up in Northeast Tennessee my first 10 years of life. We lived on a mountain top, my mama, daddy, sister, brother, and me. My surroundings were some of the most ideal any child could ever hope for. Not because we had a big house, fancy furnishings, or a lot of toys. But because of the many little things we shared daily.
My Mama was a wonderful cook. A true Southern cook. It was typical for her to cook three meals a day, seven days a week. And with each of those meals, homemade bread was served. Either her biscuits, or her cornbread. Anyone who knew my mama’s biscuits and cornbread, knows there are not enough words in the Webster’s dictionary to describe just how good they were! Mama took great pride in making her biscuits or cast-iron skillet of cornbread perfect, every time!
During the summer, it was not unusual to have an entire dinner consist of fresh veggies, cooked or raw, from my daddy’s garden. Meat wasn’t as plentiful in the hot months. But it also wasn’t needed. Not with the bounty my daddy would provide from his garden. A typical dinner would be corn on the cob, fried potatoes, green beans, sliced onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. With Mama’s hot biscuits and cornbread, it was a dinner for kings! We never, ever, complained there was no meat on the table. Our taste buds were blissfully satisfied and our tummies sufficiently filled. Add a cold glass of milk or buttermilk and your mouth is watering. We left the dinner table happy and healthy.
I never thought much then about my mama making hot biscuits or cornbread at every meal. I guess I took it for granted. It was our norm. But now I realize one of the reasons she did it was to make the simple ingredients she had to prepare more substantial. It probably grieved her that she didn’t have meat for every supper being the perfectionist that she was. Likely, she questioned her ability as a mother providing for her children. But without even knowing it, she set a standard that I myself have never been able to meet.
Mama was right when she used to say that everything is better with a biscuit. Maybe one of her biscuits! To this day, I have never had a biscuit or cornbread that can hold a candle to my mama’s. What I wouldn’t give to sit down to that table just one more time. Slice up the cornbread, pass out the biscuits, and enjoy the love that surrounded me there.