Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sweetheart Biscuits & Creamed Potatoes




Sweetheart Biscuits and Creamed Potatoes
Dorcas Annette Walker

Certain foods are intertwined with things of the past that make up a part of who we are. Most families have a food dish that has special meaning whether the recipe is simple or complicated. This week I thought I’d share a recipe that never fails to bring back warm memories from my early childhood.

Once a year our family would travel to our grandparents at Christmas. This trip entailed a long winter day’s journey traversing icy roads. I remember being awakened while it was still dark and fumbling around trying to get dressed while our mother bustled finishing up the packing. After a quick breakfast the car was finally loaded and our family would head out in the early cold dawn. Snuggling down in the back seat between my sister and brother I’d shiver and doze off as the car slowly warmed up. Lunch consisted of sandwiches, cookies, and Kool-Aid that my mother had brought along. We’d eat zooming along snowy roads only stopping for gas. Sometimes we’d get slowed down as heavy snow fell isolating us in a white frozen world with my father hunched over the wheel peering out a hole that the windshield wipers kept open while scraping back and forth monotonously. Our mother would nod off, her hectic schedule of working up to the last minute catching up with her, only to jerk awake and gasp every time the car would swerve or slide. Meanwhile, us three kids in the back seat were full of energy and wide awake asking every so often, are we almost there? By late afternoon we seemed doomed to spend the rest of our life confined within a car. As supper time approached and passed the promise that Grandma was making supper for us was the answer to our complaints and growling stomachs. In sheer boredom we’d doze off again as darkness would fall to be awakened by the sound of excitement in our parent’s voices seeing familiar landmarks the closer we got to our destination. One last turn and a final stop sliding on ice would announce that we had arrived. The car doors would open and I’d hear the voice of my grandmother that I hadn’t seen for a year. Our parents would hustle us out of the car and into grandma’s house where we’d be blinded by bright lights. I’d hear laughter and excited chatter and feel warm arms hug me close. Then grandma would herd us to a set table. Steaming hot biscuits would appear by magic, be given a dollop of butter, as creamy potatoes were ladled overtop. We’d dig in and eat until we were stuffed only stopping to gulp cold milk in between bites. With full stomachs we’d give a huge sigh and fall asleep in our chair as the talk and laughter swirled around us. We were at grandma’s house!

Biscuits are considered quick breads so called because they were originally baked twice. The early Romans made this type of bread. Today there are many varieties of biscuits. Biscuits are different than bread in that solid shortening is used and cut into the flour like a pastry before being kneaded, rolled out, and cut into round shapes. My grandmother’s Sweetheart Biscuits were so named because instead of cutting the biscuits out in circles, hands are used to form the dough leaving fingerprints. A guy in love would try to find and eat the biscuits his sweetheart made at a gathering. Some guys insisted that they could tell which one was their sweetheart’s biscuits by the fingerprints, so these biscuits became known as Sweetheart Biscuits. This recipe takes five to ten minutes to prepare and makes eight to nine biscuits.

Sweetheart Biscuits

In medium bowl:
2 c self-rising flour
3 tb shortening
With two knives slice across the flour and shortening until the shortening is cut down into small lumps.

Add:
1 c milk (can use either regular milk or buttermilk)
Mix well and turn out onto floured surface.
Knead the flour into the dough about thirty strokes. Break off dough about the size of a large walnut and shape into a ball with hands. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350ยบ for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Biscuits are done when they slide on baking tray. Serve hot.

Creamed Potatoes

Preparation time about 30 minutes. Serves around six. Peel and thinly slice 3-4 medium potatoes. Cover with water.

Add:
1 tsp salt
Cook about 20 minutes until potatoes are soft.

Add:
1 c milk
½ tb crushed dried celery leaves (see cooking tips on blogspot on drying celery leaves)

Stir in:
¼ c cornstarch in water to make liquid
Bring to a boil and turn off stove.
Melt in 1 tb butter.
Serve over hot biscuits torn in half. May garnish with fresh or dried parsley!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a freelance writer, author, columnist, and photographer from Jamestown, TN. If you have any cooking tips or favorite recipes you are welcome to contact me by mail at: Dorcas Walker, 929 Wildwood Lane, Jamestown, TN 38556 or email me at: dorcaswalker@yahoo.com. For more information about the Walker family and Dorcas’ books check out her website at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com or htpp://dorcasannettewalker.blogspot.com for other Creative Mountain Cookin recipes.

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