Sunday, September 19, 2010

Missing Vera

On Sundays I always make a special breakfast. During the week it's every man for himself, but Sundays are special. This morning I made my grandmother's biscuits. They were wonderful. The key is to use buttermilk and to cook them in a hot cast iron skillet. The recipe is simple;

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
a pinch of baking soda
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
enough buttermilk to soften

Put a little extra oil in a small (8 to 10 inch) cast iron skillet and heat on top of the stove. Mix all the ingredients, the dough should be rather moist. Put some extra flour on a board and put dough on top of flour. Fold a little flour into the dough until it can be cut easily with a biscuit cutter. Pat the dough out until it is about a half inch thick. As you put the cut rounds into the skillet, coat one side with the oil and then turn over so both sides are oiled. Bake in a 350 degree oven until done, about 20 minutes. When I take them out of the oven, I put a plate on top of the skillet and turn the biscuits over onto the plate and then slid them back into the pan and put them on a burner on top of the stove so that they will brown and get a little crunchy on top.

My grandmother, "Vera" was such a special lady. She never had any children of her own. She was married to my maternal grandmother's brother. My maternal grandmother and she were best friends and lived across the street from each other. When my mother was 5 months old, my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer and died 10 months later. The night before she died, she called Vera who was taking care of my mother, and asked her to make a pan of biscuits and to dress my mother in a dusty rose outfit that Vera had made for her. She did. That night my maternal grandmother told Vera that she was tired and could fight no longer and asked Vera to raise my mother as her own. Vera told me many years later that as she walked out of the hopital that night, she looked down at the sleeping baby in her arms, and thought of how much she had always wanted a child. This child came with a price, the life of her best friend and sisiter-in-law. My maternal grandmother, Lilly, died later that night. Vera became the best grandmother I could have. Not only was she my grandmother, she was my friend.

As I was cleaning up my kitchen this morning I thought of how I wish I could have Vera for just one day. But then I thought of how painful it would be to have to once again give her up as the day would draw to an end. So many nice things are happening in my life that I wish I could share with her. In the next couple of months I will share some of these things on the blog.

Although I can't have her with me to share a cup of tea and some wonderful conversation, Vera is always in my heart. I see her in so many things that I do. She taught me to knit. So when I knit, she's with me. She taught me to tat, crochet, cook, embroider, sew. My life is rich because she was a part of it. All I can say is, Thank You .