Maya Angelou’s Buttermilk Biscuits

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Life often comes to strange crossroads. 10 days ago, I rendered all the pork fat I had frozen into beautiful lard. 5 days ago, we lost Maya Angelou, an extraordinary voice of wisdom in a crazy world. The following day I received an email saying it was National Biscuit Day.

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A gift from my mother-in-law years ago, inside is a Buttermilk Biscuit recipe that uses no butter, just lard. Maya says her grandmother’s biscuits were called “cat heads” because of their size, but the recipe says to use a 2-inch biscuit cutter, so I did, and mine are much smaller than a cat’s head. That doesn’t stop anyone from eating them though.

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In the bowl is flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lard. After cutting in the fat, all that’s left to add is the buttermilk, making a pretty wet dough that needs to be handled deftly, both to keep the biscuits light, and to keep from having all the dough stuck to your hands instead of on the cookie sheet. Full disclosure: I’m not that deft, so my biscuits aren’t that light, but they are tender and surprisingly delicate in flavor.

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I also added finely chopped chives from my garden, which meant working the dough a little extra. But here it is, patted out and ready to cut.

Thank you Maya, for sharing all of your life with us, the ugly as well as the brilliant. I know you’re at peace. You’ll be sorely missed.

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