Yesterday as we brothers and sisters gathered for the lunch meal at Mama's house, my youngest brother reminded us that there were eleven of us sitting at the table. That was the exact number we had around the table when we were growing up. Nine kids and Mama and Daddy. And we were eating biscuits and gravy like we used to have when we were kids. In those days, we would gather around the long table, and sometimes the biscuits and gravy was all we had for breakfast. My niece who lives not far away from here was eating with us yesterday, and she wanted to know how Mama fed all of us. There were a lot of biscuits and gravy!
Mama was born in 1895. 98 years ago. Before automobiles, airplanes, radio, television, and the computer age. Those were the horse and buggy days. She saw a century turn around. She saw transportation go from horseback and buggy to the space age with rockets to the moon. She went from the kerosene lamp to the electric light bulb. Mama grew up in a log cabin. Her mother was widowed when Mama was really young, and they were very poor. So she learned to be a self-sufficient survivor from an early age.
Mama and Daddy had nine children, and I was the middle child. I was one of the Depression children. And I grew up as one of the helpers around the house. Mama was very resourceful. She was a good wife, good mother, a good cook, housekeeper, seamstress, carpenter, gardener, and an artist in her own way. She helped in the fields along with all of the children. Mama sewed all of our clothes, even to the boys' clothes. All of this was done on a treadle sewing machine. She taught us how to sew.
She made pieces of furniture out of scraps of lumber found around the place. She made a couch out of old wood and padded it and covered it with a chintz covering. She made a side table out of an old bedstead and bent nails. She made a garden and grew vegetables for the family. She taught us to work. She taught us to do our best. She and Daddy struggled to put us all through school so that we could have a better life than they had had.
We grew up in a family with high values before the phrase "family values" became popular. Maybe we invented the phrase. Mama was proud of her boys and girls. She lived to see them grow into good responsible citizens of the community. She was proud of her family.
Mama, you will be missed. You did good.
How do I possibly get from this back to Just Plain Cooking? Well, here goes! This is what Memaw did with biscuits:
1 can buttermilk biscuits (10 count)
Oil to fry doughnuts
Punch a hole in each biscuit with your finger. Stretch the dough and make a hole about the size of a quarter or larger.
Heat one inch of oil in a deep skillet. Drop doughnuts into medium hot oil. Brown slowly on both sides. If cooked too fast, the center of the doughnut will not be cooked. Drain on paper towel and glaze while hot. Drizzle glaze (recipe below) over doughnuts. Let cool a few minutes and enjoy. Makes 10 doughnuts.
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
A drop of vanilla
Mix ingredients together until creamy. If mixture is too thick, add more milk. Spoon over hot doughnuts.