Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, began dreary, and it began drizzling about 10. Gene had returned from men’s Bible study at church and I had returned home from visiting my sister and mother-in-law in the nursing home.
At 11:30 I asked him what he wanted for dinner. To me, it will always be dinner in the middle of the day when you are eating at home. I was thinking of cooking rutabaga, baking cornbread and frying some chicken. He said as it was cold and raining that grits and eggs would be good. That certainly suited me.
I put on a pot of quick grits, reached for eggs in the refrigerator and saw the half gallon of buttermilk. Oh, boy! Now was a good time for a pan of biscuits. I had a bag of frozen biscuits, but sometimes I just like to bake my own. The last few times I had tried they didn’t turn out right. But, I had buttermilk so would try again.
I went by the recipe printed on the White Lily self-rising flour sack, except I had Kroger shortening instead of Crisco and didn’t cut the biscuits out with a cutter. I like to roll them in my hands and pat them down on the pan. The recipe said to preheat the oven to 500 degrees which is hotter than I have seen a recipe call for. I fried the eggs in the electric skillet and Gene made fresh coffee. I set the tub of margarine, homemade pear preserves and strawberry figs on the table. When the biscuits were cooked except for the tops being brown enough I turned on the broiler and browned them just like I like. Dinner was ready!
Gene was excited to get homemade biscuits. After the blessing, we grabbed a hot biscuit. They were some nice catheads!
I spooned pear preserves onto my plate and got an egg. I put the egg with my biscuit and got a smaller biscuit to eat with the pears. Gene complimented me, saying this was like eating at Jerry J’s in Blackshear or Waycross!
As I ate, I thought about how good it was, and how we as children had to take them to school the first few days. I can still see Mama taking the hot biscuits from the wood stove and splitting them with a butcher knife and placing the fried egg between the pieces. She made seven, one for each of us. Then she made a pear preserves or blackberry jelly sandwich for each. She took a sheet of Savannah Morning News and laid the biscuit and sandwich on it and wrapped it. She tied it up with twine that had been saved from ripping open 25-pound bags of flour. As each of us went out to the bus, Mama made sure we each took our lunch package.
Thinking about it today, I realize Mama had done a day’s work by the time she got up and built a fire in the stove and made a pan of biscuits along with breakfast for all of us, and fixed our lunches. I’m sure she said "hallelujah" as soon as the school bus pulled out of the yard.
Thanks, Mama, I don’t know how you did it. She, at 91, still cooks for herself and I caught her last weekend about to tackle peeling some of the largest turnip roots I have ever seen that Little Franz Long had sent her.