I absolutely love Kelly Clarkson, her voice, her sass, and her sense of humor. If I were younger…and unmarried, I’d go to Nashville and camp out on her front doorstep…wait, she’s married? To Reba McEntire’s son, you say? Well, I’m not going to break up her marriage over something she said.
Southern and brazen, with a voice as rich as Tennessee whiskey and biting as corn likker, Kelly likened a singer’s voice to “warm biscuits on a Sunday with butter drizzlin’ off of em’?” How Southern is that!
An inner voice asked, “What does it mean?”
Another inner voice attempted to clarify, “Well…I guess…um…well…butter my butt and call me a biscuit, I don’t have a clue.”
I never heard that exclamation of surprise until I was an adult and I am not sure how authentic it is. It does sound Southern. “Buttah mah butt and call me ah biscuit.” Yeah, rolls off of the tongue Southern but why would you wish your biscuit to fall out of your mouth? That question came from the crazier of the voices in my head. It does get crowded in there but never boring.
I’m not totally sure what Kelly meant. I think it probably means “damn good” because biscuits drizzled in butter on a Sunday are “damn good” and, at least for me, a little bit poignant.
I love homemade biscuits and can’t think of anything better than a buttered, homemade biscuit on a Sunday…or any other day of the week for that matter. Light, flaky, golden brown on the outside, light and soft on the inside. Runnin’ in REAL butter, not the oleo stuff. Just add a side of eggs for breakfast. Slathered in King Syrup or honey for a dessert. Stuffed with a slab of Neese’s liver mush for lunch. Smothered with sawmill gravy for…heaven on a plate. I assure you, biscuits and sawmill gravy are a heavenly meal unto themselves. Never allow anyone to try and convince you otherwise.
We have several sayings from below the Mason Dixon involving biscuits…unless we stole em’ from somebody above it. “A cat can have kittens in an oven, but that don’t make ‘em biscuits.” Yankees may understand a derivation, “Just because you live in a garage, don’t make you a car.” Here in the South, it might mean, just cause you’ve lived here for five generations and say Y’all don’t make you Southern.
We even express our undying affection with affirmations of love such as, “I could put you on a plate and sop you up with a biscuit.” This is making me hungry and missin’ my grand momma.
I associate biscuits and love to my grandmother. Nannie was a somewhat stoic woman who had trouble overtly expressing her love. I’m not sure I remember a time when I got an “I love you,” from my Nannie. I was much more likely to get a whack on the ass than a pat on the back. She did not abide foolishness.
I knew she loved me and the rest of the grandkids. I knew it as well as I knew Nannie’s biscuits would be light and flaky. Love was displayed by example, not expression. Examples like buttered biscuits on a Wednesday…for lunch. Her greatest expression of love was, “Donnie you’ve been a good boy, want another biscuit?” This also explains why I have fought a war with my weight for most of my life…food was the language of love and of positive reinforcement. She was the same with her peanut butter cookies…I loved them too.
As a small child, I remember watching her as she went about making her biscuits in the tiny kitchen of her home. Standing in front of her window to the world, watching the birds in their domain, she made her biscuits. With me playing on the linoleum floor, she would be cutting in the lard and adding buttermilk to give it a bit of a tang. She was careful not to overwork the dough to keep it light and flaky, before rolling it out and cutting rounds with her red handled biscuit cutter. Rolling up the scraps into mini-biscuits, nothing was wasted, before painting the tops with melted butter. She only glanced at her efforts and relied on feel as she watched “her” birds cavorting around her bird feeder.
Late in her life, I asked about her recipe. She didn’t have one. It was a little of this and a lot of that until it all came together, nothing exact. You learn to make biscuits by making biscuits. I must not make them enough. Mine are not light and flaky, some so hard the puppies won’t eat them. As I said in another essay, maybe it’s the lard…or the love.
Thank you, Kelly, for sending me down a lovely rabbit hole.
Coming soon “Cornfields and Cow Patties.” Until then, check out Don at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM