“Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.” ~ Carl Sandburg
Hello Friends and Hello 2021!
Nice to be back, and I must say, you’re even cuter than you were last year. How is that even possible? Maybe it was all those cookies you ate over the holidays. 😀
I was so happy to toss out 2020 and turn the page on a brand new Susan Branch calendar. Marking the days, weeks, and months with her charming art, quotes, photos, and recipes is how I like to roll. I think of her as a good luck charm; her optimism and positive energy really keep me going.
If January is any indication, we’re all in for a BIG year. Huge challenges, yes, but I’m hopeful that with our new President, Vice President, Democratic Congress and our collective faith in the power of BLUE — we’ll be able to heal, restore, build, and move forward for the good of all.
2021 will be one heck of a feast, and I’m anxious to dig in, so please pass the biscuits!
IN RHAPSODIC PRAISE OF BISCUITS by Joan Leotta Biscuits transubstantiate from buttermilk or Lily brand flour and Clabber Girl baking powder into a heavenly delight. So, it is only right that they are the first item passed after prandial prayer. Plucking one from the basket passed to me, my fingers tingle as they brush the lightly crisped top. Slowly, I separate the still warm bread of perfection into two perfect halves, tamping down the steam with a pat of real butter and a swirl of honey. I lift one section to mouth and savor the sweetness of the topping, aided and abetted by the salty, creamy butter amid the biscuit crumbs. Edible perfection. ~ from a broadside sponsored by Poetry in Plain Sight (Winston Salem, December 2019)
The “first item passed” for our first meal of 2021 should be quintessential comfort food, don’t you think? Seriously, who doesn’t love biscuits?!
It’s all about Grandma’s recipe, waiting anxiously for a fresh batch to come out of the oven, and just as the poem says, plucking one from the basket with the highest degree of anticipation. Yes, speak of biscuits in divine terms. Do they not transform us from mere mortals to giddy gastronomes at first bite? The nostalgic flavor of a good homemade biscuit can lift me right out of my seat!
Have you already tried Susan Branch’s melt-in-your-mouth biscuits? They’re my favorite and the recipe is included in the 30th Anniversary Edition of Heart of the Home: Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen (Spring Street Publishing, 2016). I remember Susan mentioning her grandma’s biscuits in Home for Christmas (Spring Street Publishing, 2020), and I’m assuming this is the same recipe. In any case, these are easy to make and are definitely “edible perfection.”
Go ahead: break one in half, watch the steam rise, slather with butter and jam or honey. Close your eyes as you bite into a tender, buttery piece. Mmmmmmmmmmmm!
Susan Branch's Best Biscuits
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2-1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
DirectionsPreheat oven to 425 degrees F. Put flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into mixing bowl and stir with fork. Slowly add 1 to 1-1/2 cups cream, stirring constantly, just until dough comes together. Place dough on floured board and knead for about a minute. Pat dough flat to about 3/4 inches thick. Cut with round 2″ cookie cutter and brush both sides with melted butter. Place the buttered biscuits 1″ apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes, till browned. Wrap them in a napkin and serve them in a basket.
~ adapted from Heart of the Home: Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen, 30th Anniversary Edition (Spring Street Publishing, 2016)
Take another sip of tea, wrap your lips around another biscuit or two, and let’s all have a good year. It’s a new day, a weight has been lifted. I’ve never been more hopeful, and I’m so glad you’re here.
The lovely and talented Laura Shovan is hosting the Roundup at her wonderful blog. Be sure to zip over and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared around the blogosphere this week. As always, stay safe, be well, wear your mask, and have a great weekend!
*Copyright © 2021 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.