I'm about to reveal to you one of my best secrets.
Down there in Isonville, Kentucky, they've got a volunteer fire department to mind those little flare-ups that happen when, say, somebody tosses a cigarette out of his truck and it lands in the woods at the roadside. To earn money for a new (probably used) pumper truck or some hoses or something, they have to do a little fund-raising.
Enter Kristen, long-lost relative, in the year they sold their Isonville Volunteer Fire Dept. #889 cookbooks. What do our southern relatives eat? Escalloped Summer Squash, Red Velvet Cake, Kenney's Home Fries and lots of the same Cool-Whip-and-pudding desserts that the rest of us like.
Headlining the "Bread, Rolls, Pies, and Pastry" section is a little treasure called Angel Flake Biscuits:
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
3 TB sugar
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cups vegetable shortening
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 cups buttermilk
Sift together into mixing bowl, flour, baking powder, sugar, soda and salt. Cut in shortening. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water; add to flour mixture. Then add buttermilk. Work together with large spoon until all flour is moistened. Cover bowl; store in refrigerator. When ready to use take out amount desired. Roll out on floured board to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes in 400' oven. NOTE (theirs): This recipe makes 6 dozen light, flaky biscuits. The dough will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.
NOTE (mine): I thought they liked big biscuits down there. If it makes 6 dozen, they must be no bigger than Whoppers. When I make them, they are big and sweet and puffy and kind of hard to stay away from. Anyway, for those of you that care, divide 3,875 by the number of biscuits you get, and there's your calories.
Grandma Ison once lamented that she could never make light fluffy biscuits like her mother could. I sent her this recipe and even some brand-new biscuits cutters with handles on them like they have at McDonald's and I think all of it promptly got lost and forgotten in one of her drawers. Anybody willing to dig out the cutters and make these for her?
Over on the Finished Book Pile, we have Red Prophet by Orson Scott Card, the second book in the Alvin Maker series. This one required more patience. "Harsher, bleaker and more mystical than Seventh Son," said one reviewer. Quite true.
I had to endure a great deal of Red Man talk about White Man bad, kill the land, go back on boat where come from. And I can't help but read a book as if were already a movie, which makes me puzzle over how the actor is going to say lines like "This is the oath of the land at peace" without wishing he'd been called up for a Pepsi commercial instead.
Despite all the magic, Card's story follows history and geography closely enough that I'm apt to open my next history book and feel shocked that certain real-life players died after certain real-life battles. "No, no! Alvin healed him!"
But I'm sticking with the series. It's all going somewhere. Right, Melanie?