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Monday, July 14, 2008

Memories

Tonight for dinner I made biscuits and gravy. Not the most healthy thing we could have had, but it was the requested meal. When we lived in the states I never made biscuits from scratch. Oh there was a time I used Bisquick and called them homemade, but now I know that they really weren't. There is no such thing as a can of biscuits here. You can't find them frozen or premade in any shape or fashion. In fact biscuits aren't something Turks even eat. I mean they would if they had them, but it isn't a normal bread form here.

So the biscuit recipe I usually use is this...2 cups of self-rising flour and 1 cup of heavy cream. That is it. Mix it together roll or press them to about 1/2 inch thickness and cut out with a glass. Now they don't have self-rising flour here so I add 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt to the flour and mix before I add the cream. The biscuits are to die for in my opinion. So easy and so yummy. If you want you can add some sugar...maybe 1/4 cup to the dry ingredients if you like your biscuits sweeter.

But tonight I had to use a different recipe. I was out of cream, and I had already started mixing up the other ingredients. I quickly found a recipe for buttermilk biscuits and since I had ayran which is a yogurt drink similiar to buttermilk I decided to go that route. After mixing the dry ingredients I started to cut in the butter. Wow...memories flooded over me. Then I added the buttermilk and almost started to cry. My grandmother made buttermilk biscuits every time I went to visit her. She mixed them with her hands...exactly like I was doing. The smell of the buttermilk as I mixed it in was like stepping back in time. The movement of my hands as I slowly formed a ball of dough in the middle of the bowl...picking up more and more flour from the sides as I moved my hand around transported me back to her kitchen in the tiny town of Emerson, Arkansas.

I'll never forget that place. That house. That kitchen. Where so many memories were cooked up. Memories of homemade sweet pickles...juicy and sticky. Memories of fried fish. Memories of chicken and dumplings, turnip greens, purple hull peas, cornbread, and chocolate pie. There were lots of other memories made there, but tonight it was the thought of the food that overwhelmed me. And even though I have learned to make many of those things they still don't taste quite like hers did.

12 comments:

Sra said...

I think I had some Ayran when I was in Germany a few years ago. I was at a doner shop, of course, and there was a Turkish boy in the shop who thought I was so hot in an American girl kind of way, and so he bought me this yogurt drink that I simply had to try. It was the saltiest, sourest thing I've ever put down the tube. How do they drink that stuff?

Your Pal Pinki said...

: ) I got a little teary reading.

Wondering Woman said...

I thought I knew every town in Arkansas but Emerson didn't ring a bell. Looked it up and I JUST missed the Purple Hull Pea Festival and I'm seriously going to put it on my calendar for next year. Hopefully there will be a lot of grandmotherly types supplying the food. I was really surprised with your camping pictures as I had no idea Turkey looked like that, they could have been photos from the Buffalo River area.

Denise said...

Wondering Woman, the PHPF is fun! The tiller races are great. The website is clever:
Over the years, we've made a point of telling folks that, when you come to Emerson the weekend of the festival, please don't expect to find an empty motel room. There simply won't be any.
'Course, that's mainly due to the fact there aren't any motels in Emerson.

Check out the reci-peas!
A pretty young blonde girl from our church wins the tiller races every year. It's always scorching hot but local ladies sell a plate of peas and cold iced tea in the auditorium. Some years there will be lots of crafts tables, some years very few.

By the way, Emerson's mayor got a part in the Oliver Stone movie being filmed in Shreveport!

Charlie Girl said...

I am glad you shared this. I bet one of these days, you will pass the same kind of memory down to your kids, and their children.

Amazing how a smell or a movement can take us back like that... Cherry tobacco does that with me, along with a few others. But you already knew that about me.

The box from Turkey is taunting me...

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

Food transports me to my grandmother's kitchen, as well. That, and smells... especially aquanet!

citizen of the world said...

My stepgrandmother taught me to make biscuits - she could make them in her sleep, I think - but time has erased that skill from me.

Headless Mom said...

This post reminded me of my Granny. She too lived in Arkansas for many years. I wrote about her and it is in my sidebar under my favorite posts, 101 years... I think you might enjoy it. (I'm not trying to pimp myself, we just have some very similar memories and I don't want to hijack your comments!)

Fred Farnsworth said...

I was out of cream, and I had already started mixing up the other ingredients. I quickly found a recipe for buttermilk biscuits and since I had ayran which is a yogurt drink similiar to buttermilk I decided to go that route. After mixing the dry ingredients I started to cut in the butter. Wow...memories flooded over me. Then I added the buttermilk and almost started to cry. My grandmother made buttermilk biscuits every time I went to visit her. She mixed them with her hands...exactly like I was doing. The smell of the buttermilk as I mixed it in was like stepping back in time. The movement of my hands as I slowly formed a ball of dough in the middle of the bowl...picking up more and more flour from the sides as I moved my hand around transported me back to her kitchen in the tiny town of Emerson, Arkansas.

Natalie said...

sra - yep...sounds like you had ayran! honestly i've gotten used to it. i couldn't stand it at first, but i've learned to drink it. i wouldn't ever order it, but when i am at someone's house and they serve it to me i can drink it. they drink it their whole lives. we moved here when ag was 2 and she started drinking it when she went to preschool. now she occasionally wants it. seems strange, but it's true. the other kids can barely choke it down.

pinki - awww...thanks.

wondering woman - i know! i've never been to the purple hull pea festival! and i love purple hull peas! love them. i've shelled plenty and had purple stained fingers from the hulls. i might have to do the festival next year too! that would be so fun! turkey is beautiful in places. most people probably picture the desert when they picture turkey...and there are plenty of dry places out east for sure. thanks for stopping by!

denise - i am going to the purple hull pea festival next year. for sure. i've decided. i'm going to see if my sister will go with me. i'm excited! i won't be entering the tiller races though. i would come in dead last!

charlie girl - well ag did help me make the biscuits. it was a little frustrating for me because it took way longer. but then she asked for a bit of the dough. i remember doing the same thing. asking for some to play with.

andrea - aquanet. how fully. avon also reminds me of my grandmother. i don't remember her wearing it, but she had lots in a drawer in her bathroom so i would play with it all the time.

citizen of the world - you could probably find a similar recipe on allrecipes.com if you can remember most of the ingredients. that site seems to have everything.

headless mom - i am going to have to check it out! and pimp away. i've done the same things when i've had something to share or a contest to promote.

fred farnsworth - um...is this a spam comment? this exact paragraph is in my post. i am confused.

Mike S said...

Smells evoke the strongest emotions and memories. I'm often transformed into a young boy by the various smells of the woods or farms. I really go flying back in time when the memory is of my Aunt cooking on the old woodstoves.

Biscuits & gravy is another of those southern dishes that stuck with me, in more ways than one. I still stun my Maine born & bred wife when she finds me making them, and grits, eggs, etc. Great food!! Now ya made me hungry again:)

Natalie said...

mike s - i know what you mean about smells!

oh..and a good southern breakfast just can't be beat in my opinion! but you are right...it sticks with you!