You know that nice little feeling of satisfaction you have when the kitchen is brimming with good smells and all is prepared to welcome your hard working husband when he arrives home from work? This was the case for me recently.
Chicken and Biscuit Casserole was on the menu. I had peeled and diced and chopped and now little squares of potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, peas, and green beans, all simmered in a rich gravy, amongst the pieces of tender chicken. The biscuits were rising in height and turning a golden brown in the oven.
And these were not just any old biscuits. Not the store bought ones either. No, these were made-from-scratch-roll-out-and-cut biscuits. The old fashioned kind made with our family’s favorite recipe.
Stepping briskly around my beloved kitchen, laying out the the plates, filling the stem glasses with fresh cold water, the familiar happy contentment of a well prepared meal and attractive table enveloped me. I opened the oven door and peeked inside. All was well.
If I hurried I could perhaps start washing the used utensils, and save time on clean up afterward. Gathering the dishes together, I was completely startled to discover the shortening that I had carefully melted and cooled to use in the biscuit dough still in the container sitting on the counter. NO. SHORTENING. IN. THE. BISCUIT.
I had trouble actually believing it.
You see, biscuits are rare at our house. We love them...and they love us. Or at least they appear that way, as they have a tendency to widen the waist-line. Wisdom admonishes that these carbohydrates should be an occasional treat and not a daily staple. And I had especially been looking forward to these light and fluffy melt in your mouth biscuits, after months of not having any!
I've Always Enjoyed Cooking
I enjoy cooking. I have enjoyed it since a very young girl, when I discovered that cooking is a form of art. Putting together this and that in just the right amount, and presto! You have something that you and others can gather around and partake of together.
But now the supper I had so lovingly prepared and anticipated was.....ruined.
I thought of the other cooking blunders I had made in my 35 years of married life... There are two that I especially remember.
That’s because when somebody wants to tease Mom, the stories are dragged out of the Closet of Schlabach Family Lore and shared with gusto to guffaws all around.
There was that time as a brand new Bride, I wanted to surprise the brand new Groom with a pie for supper. Getting out the brand new cook books and carefully scanning the recipes, I finally settled on one. One that was totally unfamiliar to me. Undeterred by such small details, I happily cooked and stirred and baked. Only it turned out....odd.
Really, there was no way it met my own stringent standards. And the brand new Groom had been raised in the family that owned and operated Schlabach’s Bakery.
There was no way possible that the brand new Bride would stoop to serving this inferior pie to a brand new Groom!
And so in a hurry, I grabbed the brand new shovel that had been a wedding gift, and buried that pie in the garden. Now that should be the end of the pie and the end of that story. But like I said, it has become part of the family lore. Only in the 35 years since, details have been added by our children.
Claims that the cat wouldn’t even eat it. Ha! Don’t listen to them. What do they know? They hadn’t even been born yet.
Fifteen Years and Six Children Later...
Fifteen years and six children later, another cooking blunder that occasionally comes out to be aired, was added to the skeletons in the family closet.
This time I was baking pumpkin pies. This is a family favorite, hands down. All the while I stirred and mixed and finally slid the brimming pies into the oven I was deeply engrossed in a phone conversation with my sister. Let me warn you, this is the way to make pumpkin pies that contain NO PUMPKIN!
Now the Biscuits?
I said not a single word about it to those of us gathered around the table, enjoying the meal of chicken and biscuits. Indeed, they seemed quite unaware that there was something not quite right about them.
S-h-h-h. We don’t need another skeleton in our closet! Two are quite enough.
Then when those other old stories are dragged out, I can say quite tartly, "if nobody has any fresh stories of cooking blunders....why, I can’t even be bothered by those old stories!"
Here is the biscuit recipe, if you want to try them:
Betty’s Favorite Biscuits
I usually mix these in my Kitchen Aid mixer. Mix dry ingredients. Add buttermilk and shortening. Mix on low, just until all ingredients are moistened. The dough will be sticky. Pat out on a well floured surface. Cut with a biscuit cutter. Bake at 425 until golden brown.
DON’T FORGET THE SHORTENING!