“Just Like My Mama Used to Make”

Biscuits for breakfast. Light, flaky, and fresh from the oven. Covered with sausage gravy. Paired with scrambled eggs. With butter and honey melted deliciously into them. Or even—my personal favorite—with peanut butter and homemade chokecherry jelly.

It’s a great idea. So great that, visiting my parents this week, I decided to surprise them one morning with baking powder biscuits. They would go perfectly with the leftover sausage gravy, made for supper a few days earlier by my sister the excellent cook.

In my somewhat misplaced enthusiasm, I overlooked one inconvenient detail: baking powder biscuits are not one of my kitchen accomplishments. Mine tend to melt in the mouth like, say, week-old sourdough bread. Or hockey pucks.

Up early in the quiet of my parents’ kitchen, I browsed through the recipe books. I found the perfect biscuit recipe, taped inside the back cover of one of the books. It was in the handwriting of my sister the excellent cook. How could I go wrong?

I mixed up the biscuits, following the recipe precisely. I spaced the biscuits far enough apart on the pan so they had room to rise. I preheated the oven and put them in.

When I took them out, they were only a little larger than they had started. They were slightly brown on top and very brown on the bottom. Their texture might politely have been described as “firm.” The only thing “flaky” about them was my unreasonable optimism that this time would be different from all the other times I’ve ever made baking powder biscuits.

My parents ate the biscuits and politely said they tasted good. Which, actually, with the sausage gravy, they did. No surprise there. The gravy, remember, had been made by my sister the excellent cook.

We agreed—my parents out of polite pity and me out of desperate grasping for excuses—that the problem had to be the baking powder. Sure enough, the expiration date on the can turned out to be six months ago. That was close enough to plausible excusability for me. At least this time; it didn’t necessarily explain why I never can seem to make baking powder biscuits as well as my sisters, my father, or my mother.

Then my mother said, “But why didn’t you just use Bisquick? That’s what I always do.”

Categories: Food and Drink | Tags: , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on ““Just Like My Mama Used to Make”

  1. Mary


  2. Frank

    I was helping the Lion’s Club serve pancakes at the rest stop at I-29 and highway 50 one morning when a trucker came to my counter and asked for “beeskies”. I told him all we had was pancakes and sausages, and just what did he want. He said, “Beeskies and graaavy”. He took two sausages and coffee and went his way. Our gang got a chuckle from my story and I have never forgotten it.

    • I suppose you might have been able to talk him into sausages wrapped in a pancake. But somehow pancakes and gravy just don’t quite go together.

  3. Laurie

    In all fairness, the biscuits from earlier in the week were a hard act to follow – our father proclaimed them ‘marvelous’! Thanks for the compliments…….gee…wait…maybe you weren’t talking about me…..

    • Oh, of course, that was the problem–I just had too high a standard to live up to! The only “m” word that could have been applied to my biscuits with any degree of honesty would be “mediocre”–and that would be a stretch.

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