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  • Shannon Elisabeth

Biscuit with love

Each Saturday, my mom, little brother, and I dutifully paid a visit to my Grandmother Juanita's house along the Gulf Coast. She was elderly and needed assistance with cleaning and errands. She never learned to drive because she had lived in a city all of her adult life and used public transportation. Juanita was a stubborn Irish woman, and she was known to stand up to my French Grandfather on occasion.

She was also an excellent cook who didn't pass her culinary gene on to my poor mother, Mimi. Grandmother had once owned a restaurant outside of New Orleans when KRAFT approached her about her popular salad dressings. She knew a thing or two about balanced flavors and fresh ingredients.

When we opened her door each Saturday, the scent of buttermilk biscuits was the first thing I smelled. Hungrily, we sat around her worn wooden table, and I buttered and slathered my biscuit with her homemade watermelon jelly as her little dog barked under the table. My little brother kindly dropped scraps to it.

These days, we make such a hype about celebrity chefs, but it is our grandmothers who made do with gardens (instead of fancy grocery stores) that impress me the most with their homey, nourishing, not-rushed food that lovingly fed their families.

My mother says that Grandmother Juanita (who sadly died when I was young) passed on her cooking craft to me and that she would be proud.

The older I become, I want to preserve the secrets of these home cooks and other artisans before they disappear.

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