SEASON: Two weeks from midsummer and already we see signs of fall. This, at least, is nothing new. But the ordinary rain falling on an otherwise ordinary Sunday tamps down extraordinary Canadian smoke. It still plagues the Northeast.
ANCESTORS: It’s always befuddled me, this notion of wanting contact with dead relatives. Kind of spoiled the idea of Heaven too. You don’t need to ask why. But here’s what I’m trying. It’s so simple.
When I make dough now — always a tricky proposition for me — I channel an unnamed ancestor from the west coast of Ireland — County Cork, let’s say, where my MGM Alice Healey’s family resided. I feel the dough though her hands. Sometimes I close my eyes. She knows what to do even if I don’t. How to fold the dough. How much flour to shake on the counter. When to stop.
I don’t know who she is but I can imagine her — wry-humored, stout, with grey eyes. She grieves the loss of her sons and daughters before they even set sail for America. She can milk a cow and jerry-rig a fan. Her name could be Bridget or Mary.
This morning, the result? One of the best batches of buttermilk biscuits I’ve ever made!
I used Elizabeth Germain’s recipe from one in a series of small books published by Cook’s Illustrated.
Somewhere I recently learned NOT TO TWIST your cutter. It wrecks the air flow or something.