I am not certain, but I'm pretty sure I have broken at least 32 Southern laws and quite possibly a dozen or so Northern transplant ones. I buy frozen biscuits.
Mama just fell out her chair.
I love biscuits. Good, Southern biscuits. The kind that are so close to perfect that I would not at all be surprised to find a couple slathered in real butter nestled warmly in heaven's welcome basket. I'm talking about melt-in-your-mouth, feathery goodness made with real butter and real milk that rise up with the slightest touch of crust that turns a shade of golden caramel. That's what I'm talking about.
I've tried to make them. Lord knows, I've tried. I even have the world's best, and easiest, recipe.
It's right there in my favorite cookbook -- the one my mama put together for all her children years ago -- 17 years ago, in fact. It's chock full of recipes we grew up with, all the warm, sticky, sweet, cheesy, crunchy, so good it'll make you slap your granny food we found on our kitchen table when we were kids.
She hand-wrote the recipes all down on notebook paper, copied them and put them in folders. Mine is green, and has pockets at the front and back where through the years I've stuck other recipes I've gathered. But none are as good as the ones clasped inside. Some pages are worn, dog-eared and wrinkled, but you can still read the ingredients clear as the day she wrote them. Sugared peanuts. Cheese straws. Cornbread dressing. Sweet potato souffle. Even Daddy Sewell's famous barbecue sauce. I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to share that recipe, with it being a family secret and all. I could tell you, but I'd hate to have to kill you.
I have tried to make Mama's biscuits more than a dozen times. One stick of margarine, 2 cups of self-rising flour, cup sweet or butter milk. Cut the margarine into the flour and add your milk. Knead it five or six times, then roll it out and cut biscuits. Bake them at 375 degrees until brown.
They don't come out right for me, even though I've watched Mama do it all my life. Maybe it's the way she kneads the dough. Maybe it's that wooden rolling pin she's had probably more years than I've been alive.
Mine just aren't the same. So I did it. I bought frozen ones. And they are good.
Mama just fell out her chair again.
Never mind that they look like little concrete pucks when you take them out of the bag. Pop those suckers in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes and you get golden, delicious biscuits almost (I said almost) as good as the real ones.
One of these days I would love to make edible, honest-to-goodness biscuits from scratch. I would love for my children to have warm memories of their mama carefully kneading dough, rolling it out lovingly and delivering hot, homemade, golden brown biscuits to the table. Instead, I am afraid their memories will be of me pulling a bag of frozen biscuits out of the freezer and plopping them on the pan.
Sigh. I confess I am thankful for frozen biscuits and other guilty pleasure conveniences of the kitchen nowadays. Like pre-shredded cheese. Oh, I love pre-shredded cheese.
Get off the floor, Mama. It'll be OK.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.