I remember the evening well. I was nine years old and I was making dinner for the first time with my grandmother. She had always let me stand close to her while she was mixing things up, but she had never let me so much as slide a spoon into the mounds of white dough that she mixed for every meal.
Biscuits. That’s what she was trying to teach me to make. It always looked so easy when she did it. She’d open up the flour bowl, grab a couple of handfuls of lard, and smoosh it in the flour. Then she’d add some buttermilk and then just a tad of water and start squeezing it through her fingers. Then, she would pull up little white pieces and roll them around in her hands. She would lay them in the old iron skillet and press her thumb into the middle. They were always perfect.
This time I was doing the squeezing, “Mawmaw, this feels gross.”
“It’s okay baby, it’ll not feel so gross goin’ down at dinner time.” She chuckled as she pulled the big iron skillet from the wall hook. “I’m gonna grease her down for ya.”
“I’m glad ya are. I don’t wanna stick my hand back down in that bucket. I don’t understand how ya can put that stuff all together, and it turns out to be biscuits.”
“I’ll tell ya, but you start pullin’ your dough up and rollin’ up some balls, okay?”
“First of all, most foods that you cook are made from things you wouldn’t ever think would go together. When they’re mixed together and cooked for just the right amount of time, you can create something wonderful.
“It’s kinda like when God made that first man; He just got ‘im a handful of the ground and started moldin’ it, just like you did with the dough. Then, when He got it just the way He wanted, He blew in it.”
“Just like blowin’ up a big balloon?”
“Yep, just like that. When He got done, there was Adam. You would’ve never thought a man could be made out of some dirt and rocks and air, but that’s exactly how it was.”
“So, I guess you could call Eve the leftovers, right mawmaw?”
“No, sugar. That woman was not a leftover. You know how sometimes I’ll bake us up a big ol’ chicken and there’s no way we can eat it all, but it’s too good to throw away? Well, I’ll take that chicken the next night and put it with some cornbread and some other things and mix it all up, and we have us some chicken and dressing.”
“Yeah, that’s my favorite!”
“Well, that’s kinda how I think about Eve. God had made Adam. He liked what He had made, the man was a wonderful creature and He enjoyed the time they spent together. However, He knew that He could make something even better. So He took a little bit of Adam.”
“That’s right. He took the rib, and with it He made the woman. Now He not only had Adam, but He had a family; a man and a woman, joined by God.”
“All out of some dirt and rocks and air, that’s amazing mawmaw. How do my biscuits look?”
Mawmaw inspected my biscuits with her glasses down on the end of her nose. “Fine baby, those look just fine. Let’s put them in the oven and start on something else.”
“How ‘bout some fish.”
“Fish? Child, where did you get a notion like that?”
“Well mawmaw, I love to hear you tell the story about Jonah and the whale.” With that, she pulled me into her big old mawmaw embrace and held me tight and we had a good laugh together.
A year later, she went home to be with the Lord, and at ten years old I was named official biscuit maker of the family. I’m thankful for that night. God has let me remember that night so vividly. Sometimes when I’m kneading dough, I feel a breeze brush by my neck and it’s like she’s standing over me again.
Now I have a daughter that’s nine. I think it's time to pass on some family history. Can you guess what we’ll be doing tonight?
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