Cooking Catastrophe Stories: Wrong Ingredient Was Solution

A personal account of a cooking catastrophe.

| November/December 2011

I was a young bride of 17, and was intent on pleasing my new husband with one of his favorite meals: biscuits and gravy. I hadn’t cooked much at home, since my job was to take care of my younger siblings. The kitchen was Mom’s domain, but I came from a long line of Pennsylvania Dutch cooks, and we had a reputation to uphold, and I was determined to become a good cook, too.

I followed the biscuit recipe exactly, cut the biscuits out and popped them in the oven. When I took them out, they were rock hard, burnt and unedible. I wasn’t about to give up, so I threw them away and started over. The second batch came out the same way. So did the next three or four batches.

I was completely frustrated, and even shed a few tears, but I was also stubborn, and I refused to give up. I must have made 100 biscuits that day before I ran out of flour and milk. Still not wanting to give up, I went to the store. More frustrated than ever, I accidentally bought self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour, and I picked up buttermilk instead of regular milk.

With my “new” recipe, the first batch turned out wonderfully. And so began my reputation of having the best biscuits in the family.

The gravy was another story. After five batches of a watery, greasy mess, I finally found a way to make good gravy. So good is it, that now, 50 years later, the meal doesn’t start until Grandma bring the biscuits and makes the gravy.

I also make scones for tea parties, as well as many variations of gravies and sauces for those good ol’ biscuits.

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