I find myself making biscuits a lot lately. With the holidays in full swing and cold weather finally making a visit to the deep South, soups and other hearty comfort foods sound satisfying often. Our family does not eat cornbread much, so biscuits are the next best runner up to accompany our meals. I love making things like biscuit dough or pie dough – really anything that requires kneading time. It is a great way to have busy hands and a wandering mind.
One of my many trains of thought follows the path of preparation. To make the biscuits my crew will eat, I automatically start with about 2 cups of flour for the ratio of other ingredients to be correct. This makes 8-12 biscuits depending on what I use as a biscuit cutter (not a fan of single-use gadgets, and mason jars work fine). We only eat one biscuit each, though, and I hate the thought of throwing away at least half of that work. So, I freeze the extra dough to be ready for next time when I can avoid making a hot mess of my very multi-purpose kitchen island. THAT is where my first train (of thought) started. It wandered to Christ’s parable of the ten wise and foolish virgins. The wise ladies were not doing anything exceptional; they were simply making sure they were ready. A task as small as bringing an extra vial of oil for their lamps has heralded them wise women for our example. As a wife and mom who works from home, some days are peaceful and dreamy just like I thought the country life could be. It is easy to be prepared to care for my family without thinking ahead on days like that. There are days, however, that this country life can cause a lot of extra trouble. I am quickly learning that, to thrive in a rural setting, I MUST think ahead. Sometimes that means putting the extra biscuits in the freezer for a quick breakfast later. Other times it means buying extra grocery items just in case plans change. It always means keeping my vehicle filled with at least half a tank of gas, since there is no stopping quickly on the way to town for fuel. It means doing tasks that require speedy, reliable internet while in town as much as possible. There is nothing particularly exceptional in doing any of these things, but it absolutely makes a difference in the peace of our family.
Another point that comes to mind is the simplicity of the dough. Just a little flour, salt, baking powder, lard or shortening, and milk or water comes together to make so many different things. It really kind of blows my mind (although I am admittedly easily amazed by anything that feels like an experiment at any level). The ingredients are commonplace; I would guess that most non-vegan homes have every one of them. Without them as a base in different ratios and combinations, though, we would be without tortillas, biscuits, pie dough, or most sweet treats. The foods listed are not fancy, but they do not have to be to feed your family. That also had my mind wandering to the philosophical and spiritual. How often do we complicate life with needless charades and rituals when the simple, commonplace answer is the correct one? The longer I live, the more important it is to me to do exclusively two things: (1) Live my life as best I can according to my morals and values, being fully and authentically genuine. (2) Care about others’ ability to thrive in their lives without getting in their personal business. The what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of people are the best kind, and authenticity is the most important character quality to me. It is the only kind of person I want to be or to raise, and it is certainly the only kind of person I have any interest in being around. Perhaps even my cooking style reflects that.
Sometimes I make biscuits in a serene, quiet house. My curtains are open at almost all times, and I can enjoy the silence before everyone else is awake, along with a sunrise view of the mountain while I create. There is something I find deeply satisfying about the simplicity of homemade breakfast waiting for my wild ones when they wake, offering them something to fill their bellies before they go to the woods or soon go to play with our animals. Other times the house is absolute chaos, with me constantly reminding everyone not to use the kitchen island until the biscuits are done. Noise is the order of the day in our home most often, and I love it. My son creates stories and games with his Legos, and he without fail is following me around while I work explaining in elaborate detail every piece he chose with the reason and story behind it. If he is inside, he is building. He spends as much time as possible wandering the woods, though, and he is happiest out there meandering with Belle (our dog). My daughter may be in her room reading or working on what she describes as her first book that she plans to write or practicing violin or in the kitchen with me practicing her own cooking skills, as she is also interested in ALL the things. Bret is always researching something, working on renovations, clearing woods, or planning fences, buildings, and other infrastructure needed to get going on our homestead. I generally have a podcast or audio book going while I work on whatever is the day’s task. However, amidst all the chaos, we are very old-fashioned about our meals, and we come together to the table and talk. It is a device-free zone where we encourage the art of conversation. The meals may be as simple as soup and biscuits, but it means so much more long term than whatever the meal of the day is. My hope is that we are creating a base of memories and stability for our kids and whoever else joins our table, a place of stability and comfort and acceptance. Because knowing that you are valued for simply being who you are empowers you to go forward and truly become the best of who you have been created to be.
So, if you ever drop by, I cannot promise you a perfectly manicured home where nothing is out of place. We are growing a farm here, along with country kids who are allowed to play like kids should. We have our routines to keep things tidy and clean, but we live here. We want others to feel comfortable here. So, I never promise perfection. I offer the camaraderie of good country hospitality, complete with a nice hot cup of coffee or a hot meal if you so desire. Simple, authentic, uncomplicated, and genuine. Just like the homemade biscuit that started me down this path of thought.