I dump flour into a giant mixing bowl, and Mom squints happily at the white cloud. For her, biscuits are mileposts baked into four score and seven years.
On the fridge door I study her scribbled recipe: A smidgeon of baking powder, salt and Crisco …
“Mmmm. Looks goood.”
I’m a grown man, but Mom’s approval still satisfies me like hot cocoa. I knead her biscuit dough, because she needs to remember.
Mom recalls her mother baking biscuits in a tent, while her father panned for gold during The Great Depression. She remembers her mother baking in the company cabin, while her dad tended vats of mercury at a sulfur mine.
Mom reminisces about her mother turning out biscuits by the hundreds at a restaurant they owned in Long Beach. She thinks back on cooking in an adobe kitchen at Grandpa’s 80-acre ranch. And she chuckles at herself at 21, an “auxiliary,” browning biscuits for troops in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.
I drop uneven globs of dough onto a worn cookie sheet—it’s not the way she would do it, and I laugh aloud at her scowl. Her tired old oven has been bronzing confection for nearly 50 years, and Mom and I wait 15 minutes longer… We love the taste of warm butter and cool jam on biscuits.
Sometimes a mom needs a son to bake up mileposts, and with her, to savor a hard life well-lived.