Bon Appétit (September 2014)
Our Lives in Biscuits
Clay is eight. He notices for the first time that the two biscuit makers in his life -- his maternal grandfather and his paternal grandmother -- make very different sorts of biscuits. His grandfather's are thin, crispy affairs, and we pile on the gravy, sprinkling it with sugar before digging in. As if from another planet, his grandmother's biscuits are like little dinner rolls, fluffy and compact.
Later, his working mom often makes biscuits as the morning meal. Clay loves to be the one to crack open the can from which they come -- the signature "pop" as the tubing comes apart is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying.
Biscuits are butter and Smuckers and harried mornings before rushing off to school.
Zach is twelve. His grandmother makes fluffy, luxurious biscuits, using a beautiful wooden biscuit cutter to make them perfectly round. He tells her that he loves her biscuits. She tells him her secret: it's the recipe from the side of the bag of White Lily flour.
Later, in his twenties, when Zach has started to cook more, his grandmother sends him a short stack of recipes. Most are hand-written, on recipe cards that bear her name. But one stands out: a perfect little recipe card, on which the clipped White Lily recipe has been affixed. It hangs on the side of our refrigerator.