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.