It was in my Food and Identity class that I first truly realized my calling to food. For weeks, my classmates and I read books about food, culture, identity, and life: Ntozake Shange’s Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo, MFK Fisher’s The Gastronomical Me, and even Michael Pollan’s journalistic writings on food in In Defense of Food. Since then, I’ve read many more works about food as well, including Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a piece by Carol Adams entitled “Bitch, Chick, Cow: Women’s and (Other) Animals’ Rights,” and, of the utmost importance, cookbooks. Each work has provided an interesting perspective on eating: the enjoyment of food, the sharing of food, the question of what constitutes food, the question of which of us animals constitutes food, the creation of food–each work contributes in part to the ways I think about and practice “the art of eating.” They’ve shaped the way I think about meat, shaped the way I interact and play with food while cooking, shaped the way I savor and experiment with flavors, shaped the way I look at each morsel that comes my way. It was in Food and Identity that the image I had of my culinary life shifted from “fatty” to something that looked a lot more like “foodie.”
On the last day of class, Professor Clark gave each of us a wooden spoon, tied in a spring green ribbon with a couple of her favorite recipes attached. This afternoon, I used that same wooden spoon to stir my batch of homemade cracker dough, happy to get it sticky with playdough-like mixture. I thought briefly of our last day of class, a potluck feast where we all tested our culinary skills in the mouths of our peers. There were a number of pasta dishes, fruits and vegetables, cookies and brownies, and the dish I made: cheddar biscuits. Everyone snacked and reminisced about the semester, and it was much like a holiday dinner, the lot of us sitting in a circle and catching up before all but three of us were to graduate. We had bonded over food all semester, and we truly bonded that last day over mounded plates of snacks.
These biscuits remind me of spring weather, and more importantly, they are tied to sweet memories of sharing emotional moments over a meal. As I prepare to graduate, these biscuits seemed like the perfect thing to make one sunny day as I pondered moving away from this place.
Whitney’s Sweet n’ Salty Biscuits
1 and 1/2 cup wheat flour
3/8 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 beaten egg
4 tbs. melted butter
4 oz. freshly shredded cheddar cheese*
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
-Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, egg, milk, and butter in bowl with whisk.
-Grease muffin tin. Tip: butter or oil spread with a marinating brush in each cup works and tastes the best! Fill each muffin cup halfway with batter, add some cheese, and top with a little more batter.
-Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
–Tip: This recipe makes about 8 good-sized muffins, and is very easy to double, triple, or even quadruple.
–Tip: For extra cheesiness, mix an additional 4 oz. of cheese right into the batter–it’s delicious!
To those in my Creative Nonfiction class, this is my tribute and sign-off for the semester. This blog will continue on, but it is most certainly dedicated to you all. It has been great reading your work and getting to know you for the last year. And of course, we would all be nothing without our talented and tireless professor, Donna Steiner, to whom this blog is also dedicated. Good luck to all of you; live, laugh, and eat.