Biscuits for Big

I am perplexed.

It is not an unusual state for me, but still…

When I was growing up, we lived in the middle of nowhere – Pop. 52 if you included the cows. We participated in 4-H. We had cows, we had chickens; I had a pig. Her name was Pennellippy. Together we won a Blue Ribbon for having a good attitude. Together we won Best of Show because she was AWESOME. I was happy she was sold as a sow rather than bacon.

I digress.

Middle of nowhere kids do things like 4-H.

So, we moved to Tennessee. We live in town. We have no cows, chickens or pigs. We have a fat cat and a skinny cat. We have ants. We are doing 4-H. Rather Big and her entire 5th grade class in her CITY school district are doing 4-H. I’m perplexed. I’m happy about it, but confused.

Anywho, this year Big has written a speech about someone she admires (the Ranger), she has taken photographs (she received a red ribbon at the county level for this photo – I’m so proud),

…she has recycled an old soup can into something functional (a pencil holder), and most recently she has baked biscuits.

Please keep in mind that Big can make a mean bag of microwave popcorn, microwave pancakes, microwave hot dogs (do you see a theme here?); but the conventional cooking lessons have not really happened yet. The girl is only 10!

So, first we are a bit intimidated. We just moved to the South, an area renowned for their biscuits! We did what any self respecting non-cook would do, we glanced at the pop can biscuits and slowly moved away before we could be tempted to use those!

I searched for a recipe that looked beginner-ish, then together Big and I made the initial batch of biscuits. It was a slow process with me demonstrating and her doing. It was really hard not to take it over, but I just took a deep breath and stepped back.

She was over the moon when she came home to tell me that she was one of three students in her classroom to be chosen to move on to the county level competition. So, we marked our calendar for the due date and went about our merry business.

Then we went to Atlanta. Then we came home. Then we went roller skating with the rest of the D.A.R.E. graduates. Then I realized that the biscuits were supposed to be submitted the next morning! Then I realized that I didn’t have all the ingredients we needed! Did you know that at 8 o’clock at night, lemon juice is an acceptable substitute to cream of tartar?

So I observed. I moved Baby out of the way. I gave suggestions. I poured the new gallon of milk so we wouldn’t have to clean it up.

But, in the end, Big has some perfectly edible (although slightly tart) biscuits to turn in. We haven’t heard back from the county competition yet, but we’re not that concerned. Big was happy to make biscuits and I was happy that I managed to observe and not take over the project.

Country Biscuits Supreme (from Gooseberry Patch: Comfort Foods cookbook, pg. 67).

2 C all-purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cream of tartar (or lemon juice)

2 tsp sugar

½ C shortening

2/3 C milk

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk; stir until just moistened (this was where I added lemon juice). Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently for about 30 seconds. Roll out to ½ in thick; cut with biscuit cutter. Arrange biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Makes 12 to 15 biscuits.

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