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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Biscuits and Rolls

When I was a young girl my grandmother used to make the best biscuits in the world: light, fluffy and mouth-watering good. She made them every day with a wooden rolling pin. I was certain I would inherit the talent. But sadly, I did not. My biscuits always came out more like hockey pucks than soft fluffy confections. However, from the time I was ten and already an avid follower of Julia Child, I could make any kind of yeast bread, from rolls to brioche.

Now, many years later, I can make a passable biscuit, but still not like my grandmother’s. After a long period of experimentation, I know my problem then and even now rests with my technique. You see, biscuits are simple. They only take the few ingredients you put together, mix just a little until the dough is the right consistency and not too sticky, and once that’s done, you spend very little time working the dough before rolling it out and cutting the perfect rounds for the oven. 

Rolls and other yeast dough are different. They take more ingredients, including yeast that isn’t too old and water at just the right temperature. You work in the ingredients and mix again until just the right consistency and not too sticky. But then it’s a matter of working the dough, kneading it a lot, banging it onto a floured surface and finally letting it rest before punching it down and remolding it. Only after yeast dough rises again can you bake it as rolls or in whatever configuration. You see, yeast dough is used for many different types of bread. Let’s just say that unlike biscuit dough it’s more complicated.

All of this got me to thinking: are you more like a biscuit or a roll? Think about it.  Are you the kind of person who is and has always been easy going, laid back and uncomplicated, but who is still light and enjoyable after taking the heat? Or are you more like a roll, someone who has to be kneaded many times, knocked down, only to rise again and then show your true abilities? Neither is the best way to be. Both are perfectly wonderful.

Each person, like biscuits and rolls,  also has his own wonderful qualities, no matter where he comes from or what he has been through. 

Margaret, the heroine in my book, Coming to Climax, is without a doubt a roll. She has been knocked down on that kneading board until the flour plumed out of her. But she still continues to rise, and maybe because of all that kneading and knocking down, she rises even higher. In the book, she has to be punched down one last time so she finally divulges her hideous secret, and in doing so purges out all of the darkness she has locked inside. She emerges, golden and full of delightful layers. We could all learn a lesson from her endurance.

I urge you to read about Margaret in Coming to Climax. Right now I think maybe I'll bake something...
Bobbye Terry is an award-winning author in both fiction and nonfiction and has also won awards for her poetry.  She penned five published novels and numerous short-stories in collections with co-writer Linda Campbell under the pseudonym, Terry Campbell and since then has written. a couple of dozen books solo as Bobbye Terry and Daryn Cross. She also writes inspirational nonfiction, including the newly released work, The Light Within. She has three other such works slated for 2013. Shake Hands with Your Soul, is slated to be published by Turquoise Morning Press in the fall of 2014


Sandy said...

Bobbye, I love your analogy. An interesting post. My grandmother made the best homemade rolls I've ever had.

Tina Donahue said...

I love biscuits. Can't cook at all, so I buy the Pillsbury Grands. Wow, they are good. Love the cover of your book. :)

jean hart stewart said...

I add orange peel and more sugar to biscuits and end up for shortcake. Don't want strawberry season to send...

Melissa Keir said...

What a great story! I miss my grandmother's cooking! I like to think that I'm the type to rise after being beaten down. Life has a way of doing that!

All the best!


Cara Marsi said...

Bobbye, I too love your analogy. I couldn't bake my way out of a burning oven. I'd say I'm a roll. Not an easygoing person at all. Too hyper. I didn't inherit the cooking gene from my grandmother who made the best Italian Christmas cookies.

Bobbye Terry said...

Just now getting over here and thanks to all who have commented! My grandmother was one great cook. I can cook almost anything myself, but biscuits will never be one of them. :)

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