I really can’t eat just one

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One of the greatest advertising slogans of all time was the potato chip challenge “betcha can’t eat just one.” That originated in 1963 and has been used by the Lay’s Company ever since.

I’m not writing about potato chips today, but I am writing about food and a kind of food that I really can’t eat just one; that is if it is a good one. It is one of the absolute proofs of my southern heritage, that I am a lover of biscuits.

This past Sunday we had our monthly Fourth Sunday fellowship luncheon at Sutton Chapel. I always call that lunch “the greatest buffet in Decatur County” and that’s true. The long table is set from one end to the other with delicious dishes.

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I was looking forward to the lunch and getting toward the end of my sermon. Everybody was glad that I was finishing up. So was I for we were all getting a little hungry. About five or 10 minutes before the end of the worship service, a lady, very quietly, got up and left the sanctuary.

What had I said to upset her? I was jumping to all sorts of conclusions as to why someone would get up and leave early. You know what Charlie Chan, the great Oriental sleuth said about jumping to conclusions, don’t you? He said, “Jumping to conclusions is like playing with damp gunpowder: Both likely to go off in wrong direction.”

Thankfully, the lady had some important business to take care of regarding the luncheon. She had made a pan of biscuits and knew that it was necessary to put them in the oven an appropriate amount of time so that they would be hot for the lunch.

When I saw her later, after the service and before the lunch, she was explaining her need to leave a few minutes early. No explanation needed, I assured her. In fact, by the smell of the baked biscuits, I was sure my closing words would come in second to the delight of this congregation. Me included!

I was not disappointed as I zeroed in on the biscuits. Oh, don’t worry. There was plenty on my plate as I approached the treasure that was underneath the carefully folded bread cloth that comforted the biscuits and kept them warm. I reached for one and, by sight, could tell that I would enjoy it. Thankfully, sight was not the only sense that would be applied.

That’s the way it is with biscuits. Good biscuits engage just about all the five senses. The sense of smell enjoys the baking. The light brown on top and a little darker on the bottom is a sight to behold. The warmth is felt as one is picked up. The last two senses, tasting and hearing, come together as the oohs and ahhs are heard right after the palate is rewarded. God must have created biscuits so that we could understand all about our five senses.

There was a time when only the home and mama could produce a good biscuit. By that I mean, bought biscuits left so much to be desired. Remember canned biscuits? Tear that paper cover off and hit them on the corner of the counter. Out would pop some dough. Put them on the tray and into the oven. When they were finished baking, they would be edible, but barely.

I have to admit, the biscuit business has improved greatly. There are many establishments, like fast food restaurants that make a pretty good biscuit. Some make them from scratch and some buy a frozen kind. Since I don’t know how to make a biscuit (I must learn), I sometimes buy the frozen kind in the stores. They’re not too bad.

I grew up with Mama’s biscuits, though and there is no comparison. One time we were down at Mexico Beach and Daddy fried some cubed steak and made some tomato gravy. He had some of those frozen biscuits and added them to his meal. I guess he didn’t want to make Mama have to work so hard down at the beach. I agree with that decision.

When it came time to eat and I saw the biscuits, I didn’t say anything. I knew they would be a good substitute. It was a really good meal, yet, there was something that had to be said. It wasn’t about the steak or the gravy or the mashed potatoes. It simply had to be said that the biscuits, although good, weren’t like Mama’s.

Here’s another thing about the biscuit. There are all different kinds and sizes. There are thick biscuits and thin biscuits. Big ones and small ones. My BigMama (grandmother) made a thick biscuit, but her daughter, my Mama, makes a thin and crispy one. My other Granny made a biscuit that could be described as an “El Grande,” a big one. Naturally, I prefer Mama’s.

But watch out for disappointment if you go to England. I was over there in the mid-1990s and my host said it was time for tea and biscuits. I had seen pictures of the English sipping hot tea and figured I was out of luck asking them for mine to be iced and sweet. But, I was encouraged at the mention of biscuits. Could I possibly have hit the jackpot? Hot buttered biscuits didn’t sound too bad even at three in the afternoon.

Well, I found out that the British don’t know at least two things. They don’t know what tea is all about and they aren’t even close when it comes to biscuits. No wonder they lost the war!