Food Friday: Homemade biscuits

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It is an old country house that rests on a road that borders the divide of two North Alabama counties.

Built in 1933 by hands of hardworking relatives of mine, the ones I’ll only meet in glory, but whose stories, pieces, and lives have touched the walls of that old house.

My grandmother, my only one still living, still lives in that house all these years later.

In my childhood, the early 1990’s, it was a home moving and rustling with the sound of my Grandparents hollering at one another in casual conversation merely because of my Grandfathers lighting struck ear.

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You could hear the cows right outside their house and the smell of the chicken houses permeated the air just miles down the road… (my dad used to say chicken houses “smell like money”… I beg to differ).

My grandmother cooking, my grandfather making bottles for the baby calves, and the smell of breakfast oozing in the bedrooms where my sisters and I were sleeping.  We would smell it and I swear my grandmother cooked like that with the sheer purpose of drawing us into the kitchen with her.

Bacon, salt pork, sausage, gravy, eggs and biscuits.

Not the kind that you can buy pre made in that pop open tube, no i’m talking real biscuits, y’all. 

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The kind she “just threw together cause Papa Doc (our grandfather) was gon’ be hungry” if she didn’t.

The kind that make your mouth water when they are being pulled from the oven.

“Mama Rue, how do you make those?” I’d ask.

“Well Hon’, you just getcha a lil’ flour, lil’ buttermilk, lil shortnin’, maybe a lil egg if ya’ gotcha one.  Then ya’ just roll em out on ya’ towel, but be sure its got a little flour on it so it don’t stick, cut em’ out, stick em on ya pan… and be sure the pan is buttered cause Lord knows that’s a chore you ain’t gon’ want when they come out.”

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HA, did you catch on? 🙂

I’d sit and watch as she made them, trying to see if I could memorize it somehow.

There was a comfort level that she had with herself when she was making food.

She had this innate ability to take all that was left in her kitchen and turn it into a masterpiece.

I’d watch her, memorize her moves and stare in amazement at the walls of her kitchen covered in mason jars filled with every vegetable you could dream of that she canned herself.

One thing was for sure, I have never been hungry at my grandmother’s house.

Somedays I like to sit and remember what it was like watching her mill around the kitchen with such ease and peace.

Today she cant do much milling around like she used to, so phone calls to her and occasional visits seem to suffice for cooking lessons.

She’ll call me to make sure I got my farmers almanac in the mail and that Cody was staying fed.

We recently chatted where she let out a minor fuss at me saying, “Now, Laaaauuuura, you make them biscuits I taught ya to make for Cody this morning? I hear he’s doing yard work today. Ya can’t let that boy work out there without any biscuits.”

How that woman knows what happening 3 hours south of her is beyond me, but she knows… she always knows.

We stayed on the phone while she spit out her “little bits of this” until the biscuits were made.

Opening my oven to those dreamy, buttery, buttermilky goodness took my heart and mind back to those mornings in the 1990’s when my feet hit the shag carpet of her old house and took off running towards the smell of breakfast in the Northern Hills of Alabama.

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I had to sit a minute to reflect, to remember, and feel as nostalgia rushed over me.

It’s amazing what a smell can do.

Sometimes, it just takes you home.

 So what about you? What smells take you home?

Mama Rue’s Homemade Biscuits Recipe (I finally figured out some measurements):

2 cups of self rising flour

half a stick of butter

1/2 cup of buttermilk

2 eggs

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix all ingredients together  (melt butter before).

 Roll the dough out on a piece of wax paper with flour to keep from sticking.

Use a cup or jar to cut out biscuits from the dough.

Grease a pan and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

Remove and enjoy… 🙂

When Love Collides: Aware

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That moment, stepping out of my car in my raggedy flip flops, dodging the broken glass in the street, and feeling the Alabama summer heat bring sweat beads down my face, I looked up to see the food pantry in Washington Park glowing in the summer sun with her half primed front and her new roof all structured and secure. 🙂

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Pastor Austin was standing there on the porch waiting for me with the anticipation of a kid waiting on their slice of the birthday cake.

He was so proud… “Laura Jeaaaaan!” He said in his voice that could never really yell,  but only fluctuate with extreme excitement.

“Pastorrrrrrr” I replied with enthusiasm.

We fist bumped, as per usual, and Pastor Austin led me inside to see the latest renovations.

IMG_7433I walked into the living room that once captured stagnant heat, the sound of a loud fan, and zero walls, now had SHEET ROCK and the most perfect AC quietly cooling off the place.

There were folks inside visiting, taking a small break from work on the place who looked to me with the most welcoming smiles, it was as if they had known me for years.

IMG_7451The bathroom has appliances (not yet installed) but purchased and getting close to installment.

There was new tile laid on the bathroom floor and boxes waiting right around the corner to be used for the ENTIRE home to be covered.

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Refrigerators running, wifi working, and food pantry full of fresh produce and canned foods.

It was easy to see that renovations did not slow the ministry of feeding the community.

IMG_7454Before I knew it I was back outside with Pastor, talking with him about what was next for the food pantry… along with stories of God’s movement in and through this little house.

I learned stories of families that are living without running water and AC, but finding restoration in this place.

I watched as Pastor’s face grew sad talking about the mothers who can hardly feed their kids because of bills that taunt them and nobody to turn to for help.

I listened and recognized that this… these issues were less than 2 miles from my little house.

That was the moment.

The one that I want to write down and never forget.

The one that I want to store in my memory so that I can relive and remember the emotion I felt.

Why?

Because I never again want to be unaware that there are families that need something as simple as a shower.

Because in my new found awareness, I can tell the stories of those scary moments of families that are saying, “what do we do now” and share how YOU did something about it.

How YOU were the resource that helped Pastor become the person that they can turn to and see hope.

Because of you, A new roof is on this house.

Because of you, there is AC.

Because of you, there is flooring for every square foot.

Because of you, there is storage for the food.

Because of you, there are bathroom appliances.

I am certain today, that because of you, we will eventually have every part of this place completely in order.

I wanted to say thank you for donating money, time, energy, and effort.

Thank you for floors, showers, sinks, and a roof.

For the future of this food pantry, I want to store away in my sock drawer a “memory to come” of sorts… one that pictures a moment when I see Pastor nod his head in humble satisfaction of a finished work, awe of the God who put this vision in his path in the first place, and peace in knowing that this can keep moving forward.

Hallelujah for knowledge of the needs of our community and Praise God for a community that says yes to meeting those needs.

IMG_7463If you would like to know how you can further the help, here is a list of remaining needs.

-Ceiling fans

-Desktop computer for Job Applications

-Washer and Dryer

-Funds for a new foundation

-Funds for a new porch

-Paint

-Bathroom appliances

All questions to further explain specifics can be answered by emailing me at Laura@CGMLife.org

We, more than anything, thank those of you who have already helped with our needs and we thank others of you in advance for the things to come.

May none of us ever be unaware again.

Growth.

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A few weeks ago I found some little pots I bought a few years back.

In college I used those little things to plant herbs on my apartment balcony and I felt the urge to do so again… except on my front porch this time.

I had forgotten that when herbs are planted with just a seed, it actually takes time to grow. 

I found myself walking outside my house every morning looking at those little pots of soil and hoping that one day I would walk out and everything would be fully grown and perfect and beautiful and I could cook everything with cilantro and basil. wrong.

Sometimes I would try not  to look but I couldn’t resist.

It was that hopeful side of me I guess.

The side that hoped I could see a miraculous fully grown plant overnight.

Let me tell yall, real gardeners are golden saints.

Then one morning, walking outside I saw a little green leaf peeking through the top of the soil.

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I stopped in my tracks, sat down on the front porch and stared in amazement.

Silly right? It’s an herb … chill.

But there was this feeling inside me that was SO proud of my little basil plan trying to make it’s first debut.

I left town for the weekend and returned only to see that cilantro came along in those days.

I stopped and stared again.

Within days, more and more have grown and I find myself getting so excited over my little plants blooming so beautifully.

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Then, something struck me.

The plant had to root itself in the very thing that gives it life before even scratching the surface of growth. 

I feel that my millennial self pushes to see growth, movement, and immediate result instead of loving the time and work it takes to achieve the better goal.

It is lovely the way the Lord shows His goodness in the time of stewarding relationship in closeness to Him, partnering with Him for our dreams and vision rather than sprouting out success with no roots.

Those little plants aren’t even fully blossomed into the best version of what they will become, yet the pride I have for them and what they are today is a little weird, but so real.

How much more pride do you think King Jesus has for us in the places that feel slow?

The slow is the growth, I think today is a day to remember that growth comes in the best form when it is rooted in the greatest place.

Happy Friday, Everyone!