But My Mom's Biscuits Are Better Than Your Mom's.... - Burman's Housewife's Thoughts on Cuisine Blog at Allrecipes.com - 293497

Burman's Housewife's Thoughts on Cuisine

But my Mom's biscuits are better than your mom's.... 
Jan. 1, 2013 2:48 pm 
Updated: Sep. 27, 2014 2:50 pm

What makes food good? Scratch that. What makes food good to each of us? Is it chemistry, mouth feel, or appearance? And why do I love my grandmother's chilled blueberry pie even though she makes it with canned blueberry sauce and frozen pie crust? I hate canned blueberry sauce and frozen pie crust. But, ever since I was a tiny tike, I could not wait to devour a piece of that gooey stuff. It wasn't till I brought a friend from pastry school home to my grandmother's house that I even gave that pie or its ingredients a second thought. My kind friend tasted Mamaw’s frozen pie crust mounded with mushy blueberries like the trained pastry critic we both were, not like the granddaughter I was. I was mortified, but I shouldn't have been. A lesson was learned. All of that knowledge was thrown out the window in lieu of sentiment.

I know how to taste food, and I know how to enjoy food. I can go into a French bakery and taste the quality of the butter in the pastry or evaluate the consistency in the cream. I can tell you the difference between a winter wheat and a spring wheat. A friend pointed out to me the other day that I often sigh when I am eating something I find very good. Now, that is enjoying food and is my experience with Mamaw’s blueberry pie, which I am obviously not tasting. Taste is a matter of training or deep experience; it can be turned off.

“Taste can be turned off? Surely not,” you may scoff. Well then, smarty pants, how do you, a registered, cultured member of this great Allrecipes society, ever bear to eat fast food? Don’t tell me that you have never, ever made a conscious decision to purchase mass-produced, heated, previously-frozen fare consisting of a strange and un-human mixture of soybeans and mystery meat laden with ajinomoto….. and liked it. Yes, friend, you have; more so, it was probably devoured, and not slowly savored like a silky tiramisu.

The hubby and I just traveled back home to Alabama and we ate at the local town grill with about twenty of my kin. I ordered a seafood plate, forgetting that everything in the South was fried unless otherwise requested. The oysters came out the color of tar. Since we were starving guests and not paying, my husband and I tranquilly ate our food and turned out attention to the conversation. My aunt took a bite off of my plate and was amazed that two trained chefs were eating cold fried food that had been killed twice. “How can you stand this?” she asked. “Well, I can’t really say. I’m not tasting the stuff. I turn it off.” “Turn it off? You can do that?” Apparently you can.

Time for another anecdote to prove my point. I grew up on browned “cat’s-eye” biscuits. They looked nothing like the biscuits on TV commercials or in mainstream restaurants like Cracker Barrel and Red Lobster. When I first married my husband I used to brag about learning to make biscuits when I was eight years old, and then one morning I proudly served him some. Much to my horror, he wouldn’t even finish a whole one. “These are not biscuits, honey! I like real biscuits.” Cheeky, but honest. Why do I find this hardtack so delightful yet find soft, buttery biscuits too “doughy”? Why do I refuse pie with frozen dough and canned filling at a church potluck, but devour my grandmother’s with ecstasy?

I think that for the most part we are all “food smart“, with a certain basic taste intelligence. I also think that where sentiment is involved, our brains and palates shut down. Even my darling, dearest husband has his sentimental downfalls. He deems fermented black beans, raw onions, and a fried egg over rice an honest feast. He eats at Hardy‘s, yet he is a highly trained executive chef.

Is there a food that you love that you probably shouldn’t? Is this a thought you’ve had before? Am I alone here? Anyways, my Mom’s biscuits are better than your mom’s….. na nana nana na na!
Jan. 1, 2013 6:07 pm
I understand exactly what you're saying. . . and agree with you. I am an apprenticed chef - learned most of what I know from working in a french cafe with some outstanding chefs. And although I greatly appreciate all I learned and the difference using exceptional ingredients can produce, I still crave my mom's fruitcake, her fried shrimp and homemade Tomato Jam . . soooo good! And my mother was just your average "stay-at-home" mom, raising 6 kids on a budget - so there was no heavy cream, or European butter or fancy wine used in her cooking. But there was a lot of love and old-fashioned common sense and "welcome" to our dinner table attitude. I think memories shape our acceptance or rejection of food. (I still remember sitting at the table till the moon came out because I wouldn't eat onion sauteed squash - still don't like it). So I believe that there are some food items that we love because of what we associate them with - - and then there are food items we love because we learn to appreciate them - and then there are those foods that we love because we learn recipes and tweak them and make them our own... Are there foods that are delicious because of the unique blend of quality ingredients that are incorporated to make it a culinary delight - - sure!! Are there dishes we love because of the "X" factor - - sure!! And when I get through working a 16 hour shift and I'm tired to the bone - too tired to go home and cook (again) - and that "drive-thru" beckons me - - - do I pull in? - - SURE DO!!! And I know your mom's biscuits are better than mine- - although I can make a great Sabayon Sauce - - I can't make a decent biscuit for squat - lol! I hear ya Jonagold - and I think where food is concerned. . . the best ingredient you can add to any recipe doesn't come from the store or off the shelf . . . but from in the heart.
Jan. 1, 2013 6:35 pm
That was exactly what I wanted to add and perfectly well said. My husband and I enjoyed your input immensely.
Jan. 2, 2013 1:37 pm
I don't like biscuits much, but I will eat a box of BOJANGLES biscuits.
Jan. 24, 2013 7:21 am
I'm late for the subject, but it's simply love! You love you grandmother what ever she makes is perfect! (As I should know!) You are right we can "turn off" our taste buds to eat. I love junk food useless,tasteless, junk food! Why else eat that terrible shopping mall chinese food!!
Mar. 8, 2013 7:02 pm
This is wonderful! I truly enjoyed reading this.
Mar. 10, 2013 1:15 pm
Thanks Mrs Snyder
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About Me
I grew up in the deep South where the most sacred foods include biscuits, cornbread, black-eyed peas, ham, and grits. There's a huge Cajun influence down there, so rowdy crawfish boils with red potatoes and corn on the cob are common. A few summers that come to mind where my sisters and I had fingers stained purple from shelling peas and arms red with ant bites from the darned critters that dominated the okra. When I was 18 my family moved to South Texas. Thanks to the locals, I fell in love with “real” Mexican food and first tasted home-made tortillas, menudo, and tamales. I began culinary school a year later and learned about the French method of cooking and developed a passion for fresh yeast breads and plated desserts. While at school I was fortunate to co-op with the city's largest catering company and gained valuable experience and knowledge in catering for large numbers. Now I am happily marrried to a great chef who teaches me about the other side of the world.
My favorite things to cook
Specialty desserts and fresh breads
My favorite family cooking traditions
My grandmother gave me the best cheesescake recipe ever....
My cooking triumphs
Currently developing my own recipe book, Silver Medal in my first pastry competition, bronze in ACF sugar competition.
My cooking tragedies
When I was 12 I wanted to spice up my mom's chili soup so I rummaged her spice cabinet and grabbed some rum extract (I heard the stuff was good). I poured a generous bit in there and am hesitant to use the smelly stuff to this day...
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