Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TWD - Sweet Cream Biscuits


I hail from Miami, Florida. In 1998, two weeks after my 40th birthday, I watched as movers packed my belongings. Tropical storm force winds blew as a hurricane was about to hit. A couple of days later, after the hurricane had blown through, I said goodbye to friends, boarded a plane and headed to a new life in California. If you'd asked me to describe myself, I would have said I was a southerner before I said I was a Miamian. I was born a Florida cracker in a Miami that was a southern city and left a Miami that had reshaped itself into something I didn't particularly identify with.

The Miami of my childhood was gone and will never return. That makes me sad, but this recipe carried me back to the biscuits I remember from my childhood. It reminded me of the grand mansions that lined Brickell Avenue, the warm covered dishes of fried chicken we lusted for and the gigantic (to a child) marble staircase in the old Miami Public Library. It reminded me of Key lime pies. The old zoo on Key Biscayne. Riding down Collins Avenue on Miami Beach and seeing the ocean, not a canyon of hotels and condos, making sure to avoid South Beach, where the "hobos" hung out. Hours of playing in the surf on the beach. My sensitive skin burned so easily and my mom would rub me with vinegar, an old southern remedy. I'd smell like a pickle but it would take the sting out. If only life were that way.

Even though she was a Southerner, my mother was not a baker. I don't think she ever made biscuits from scratch, but we had them from the can you whack on the edge of the counter and of course in restaurants. Sometimes they were smothered in thick gravy, sometimes they had a melting pat of butter tucked inside, but they were buttermilk biscuits, sturdier and saltier than these lovely sweet cream biscuits. These cream biscuits were the fancy kind you'd enjoy at a tea room with strawberry jam.

These biscuits, chosen by Melissa of Love at First Bite (recipe here), were the sum of just a few ingredients handled gently and patted into a square before cutting into smaller squares. Less waste that way, you know? My mother would be proud. I pulled one, still steaming, off the baking sheet and tucked in a bit of butter, and ate it on the spot. Hot biscuit, cold butter. Ahh, memories.

28 comments:

Julie said...

Beautiful post and yummy biscuits!

Cathy said...

They look perfect - they'd make any Southern mama proud. Love the square cutter!

Mary Ann said...

I have never been to Miami, but have often wondered what it is like there. I love the way you described it in your memory.
Your biscuits look delish!

TeaLady said...

My Southern Granny made the BEST biscuits ever. And NO ONE knows how she made them. Bummer! But these were close.

The only way I see Miami now is on CSI and it is NOT romantic like it was back in the 50s (last time I was there)

Glad your biscuits worked. They tasted really really good.

Lauryn said...

your biscuits look perfect! It's amazing to try and picture what Miami looked like before it got so built up! Sounds like you have wonderful memories!

Criollobylisa said...

Lovely post. Makes me want to venture down south!

Anne said...

Beautiful post- although I've never been near Florida or anywhere in the South I can practically see and taste it!

Kimberly Johnson said...

Your biscuits look great! I lived in Miami for 10 years but also moved out of state in 1998 and I totally get not identifying with it anymore! Sunday nights episode of Chef vs. City had me jonesing to go back for a visit though! Mmmmm ... conch fritters! :)

Sweet and Savory said...

Food and memories....wonderful memories.

Lovely biscuits.

Kayte said...

Love to hear your memories, such fun to envision it all. I like the shape of your biscuits, I think that would be a great shape for a sandwich biscuit. Nice color, etc.

Susan said...

So often food will bring back memories from childhood in a way other things can't.

Your square biscuit looks perfect!

thewhimsicalcupcake said...

What a great little look into your childhood! And how brave you were to have just packed up and moved to the other side of the country! Kudos to you!

Delicious looking biscuits!

Melissa said...

Hot biscuit, cold butter. Just how I like them. Thanks for baking along with me this week!

Tia said...

^i'm with melissa. best way to serve em :)

Hanaâ said...

Loved reading your Miami story. It always amazes me how smells and tastes of food can bring back memories. Great looking biscuit!!

Amber Marie said...

Lovely post! I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of an old, Southern Miami. I just moved from Miami back to GA (where I'm from). It's a different world. Isn't it great how food can transport us? :)

CB said...

Aren't the best foods the ones that bring back memories? Loved reading your post. Thanks for sharing your childhood memories.
-CB
http://iheartfood4thought.com

Flourchild said...

Your mama would be proud! Your biscuits look wonderful! Im glad you enjoyed this recipe too!

Clivia said...

Because my memories of Miami center around deli restaurants, I love the image of the little girl smelling like a pickle.
Glad your biscuits turned out so well.

Pamela said...

I really love the look of that square biscuit. And I thoroughly enjoyed this post!

Mary said...

It was great to read about the Miami of your childhood--very evocative. I laughed aloud when I read the vinegar on sunburn bit--my dad did the same thing to me! The square biscuit looks great, and like it is ready to take a bite out of you!

Stephanie said...

Don't you love how a treat you make yourself in the kitchen, made with time and care and patience, can take you back to childhood? That is one of my very favorite things about baking. :)

Kim said...

Wonderful post and lovely biscuits.

Cakelaw said...

Thank you for sharing your memories with us. I enjoyed finding out a little more about you. Hope you are enjoying your new life in California. I like the idea of just cutting these into squares, and yes, they were good!

spike. said...

Good stuff. The miami of your childhood sounds like more fun than current Miami to me

Katrina said...

Nice post. I don't know why it didn't show up in my reader yesterday. Perfect looking sandwich biscuit there!

vibi said...

I loved reading about you childhood memories... how nice to know Miami was not always as it is (I vacation there often in the winter!). Love the place cause it's hot, but so bustling with people and sometimes just ...strange.

Glad you enjoyed the biscuits, and moreover, that you ended up making something even your mom had never made! Nice!

Becky said...

love the square shape and your childhood memories :).