Perhaps this recipe encompasses the recipes and reminiscences of family and food that I cherish today. “Syrup Stuck in a Hole”, ham biscuits, sweet potato biscuits, “biscuit” toast to “lacy” cornbread and oysters nestled in cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving are a few of my memories from around the table. I am fortunate that my mother and her sisters compiled a book of delicious memories that covers several generations of my family. They never considered themselves as authors but collectors of memories as the introduction states: “To keep the record straight from the outset, this is not just a cookbook. We are not so presumptuous as to call these few pages a book of any sort, and furthermore, it is not even intended as a collection of recipes. So what is it? It is a little insignificant discussion of the relationship of food to family, or if you prefer, family to food and memories of people and events.” I am so grateful to the women who compiled this book and my mother’s niece who made it a reality. As the pandemic rages on, my daughter and I have continued to cook meals at home with the recipes in this book. Our biscuit making lead to the kitchen covered in flour and lots of laughter and memories. Those memories lead us to call cousins and recount stories of the kindergartner who thought toast was round because “biscuit” toast was a staple at their house! And Aunt Carrie who was perhaps our most unique family member who was famous for serving “Syrup Stuck in a Hole” to all the children who came to visit. These special biscuits were created by poking a hole in the side of the biscuit using your index finger and pouring in cane syrup. Definitely a yummy treat! These memories lead us to the memory we shared of our mothers “dancing around the kitchen table” at Thanksgiving when one wanted to add more broth to the dressing and one was trying to keep more broth out of the dressing! More importantly we remember the laughter and chatter from the adult table in the dining room. We giggled as we sat at the kitchen table in chairs filled with books so the youngest could reach the table. Aunt Betty Gray’s Crisco biscuit recipe led us to the memory of her Carmel Cake. We made her Carmel Cake and were in awe of how she could have made that cake by herself. It took both my daughter and I to keep the icing from sliding off the cake layers! Together we reread the cookbook searching for secrets we may have missed about the cake and this is what we found, “We marvel even today at how Mother could cut okra, get beans and peas picked, shelled, and everything cooked on a wood stove in time for us to eat at lunchtime on tobacco days.” Perhaps we are all in awe of the generation of women before us and all they could accomplish alone.
In a bowl, mix flour with Crisco. Cut with a pastry blender ( 2 knives work great) until mixture looks like course meal. Add milk and stir just enough to hold dough together. Place on a lightly-floured surface and knead lightly; roll about 1/2 in. (or less) thick. Cut with floured biscuit cutter and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes.