Thursday, August 8, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits

Two years ago today I lost my Grandma Violet. Nobody will ever love me as absolutely, as unconditionally. The last thing she said to me, a few weeks before she died, was "see you next time."

I think I know what she meant.

I see her every time somebody generously gives me the benefit of the doubt, deserved or not, or every time I follow her example, and muster up the energy to care for my family when I don't think I quite have it in me.

And I see her when I make biscuits. Hers were the best, and she made them for me whenever I visited her in Nashville, Tennessee, even when I arrived with an entire rock band in tow. Mine will never compare to Violet's, but she never did anything but praise and encourage me, and she believed until the end that it was at least possible for her Yankee granddaughter to make a good biscuit. And so I try.

See you next time, Grandma.

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup shortening (or unsalted butter)
2/3 cup buttermilk plus 1-2 tablespoons, if needed

Preheat oven to 425.

Work shortening into flour with your fingers or a fork, quickly and lightly.

Stir in buttermilk until dough comes together. Add a little more buttermilk if you need it.

Turn onto floured surface, fold and knead briefly, and press into 1/2 inch (or a little more) thick rectangle.

Use a biscuit cutter to cut rounds and place on un-greased baking sheet, one inch apart.

Bake 8-12 minutes, until golden brown.

Best hot.