Thursday, August 13, 2020

Thursday's Treasures #2

 I wasn't sure I was going to get this one out today. I worked so hard yesterday around the house to make up for appointments all day Monday and Tuesday that I was plum worn out this morning. I stitched and watched a lovely video that I am going to share at the end with you.

I have blown off the back decks and washed two loads of laundry so I feel justified to sit and pop out this quick post.

My treasure for today is my grandma's dough bowl. I took a picture of this weekend while in Auburn. I was fortunate enough to have snagged this dough bowl from an aunt a couple of years ago. I know it would be pretty with some stitched smalls in it, but nothing I have stitched thus far seems good enough to go in this treasure. It is filled with acorns and leaves that I can't seem to quit picking up. 

Also in the picture is a butter press from my great grandparents.

After my dad died, my mother and I moved back to the woods that she and my dad had grown up in. My dad was typical of his generation in the rural south. They answered a call of military service but also sought out a better life. He would have made a career of the military had he not passed. 

We built a house about 200 yards from my maternal grandparents and my grandfather, known as PaPa (pronounced paw paw). There were some scrubby woods indicative of area (that was very far south past the big trees) between the road and the pasture area. I always refer to the area I grew up in as "the piney woods" of south Alabama. He made me a trail that I walked daily to their house.

I was the second oldest grandchild, first girl, and a victim of sad circumstances so they took me under their wing and had a huge impact on my life. Much so ---that would be another story.

The story today revolves around the dough bowl that Grandma used daily- morning and evening most days to make biscuits, cobblers, and dumplings. By the way, I am the only grandchild that refers to her as Grandma. The others call her MawMaw which she always wrote on their birthday cards like this..."MoMo." Not really sure how she came up with that since it was not the sound of the word but it was how she spelled it. She was quite smart and well read so I don't particularly know how she decided on that spelling. I was in Germany when I came of age to talk and my dad's family used the terms Grandma and Granddaddy but his parents died before I was born. He taught me those terms, but somehow I fell in with PaPa, but kept grandma.

She never forgot to write Grandma on the many handwritten notes and cards I have from her. I am still the only one of many many grandkids that used Grandma.

Back to the bowl...She made the absolute best biscuits on the planet. No one ever topped her and I still long for them. I could go in and find a leftover one on a plate...though it was cold, it was divine.

I went almost daily in the evenings after she returned from work at the Vanity Fair in Monroeville to stand beside her and watch her make biscuits. I absolutely never remember a day when she didn't welcome me with a smile. I know she had to be tired, but she greeted me with come on and help me make biscuits. I always got to make the last bit of dough into a baby biscuit.

She had flour in the bowl and kept it covered with a flour sack. She added a little lard and buttermilk in a teacup  to the valley she had made in the flour and worked it in with her hands, then slowly worked in that flour in to make a perfect dough. She kneaded it in the bowl and then would turn around to the sink to wash her hands. She would return to pinch off a little bit and roll in her hands to make absolute perfect biscuits.

I have decided she had magic fingers. I worked for years to make them like hers. Mom has good ones, but not quite as good. My aunts have good ones but not quite as good. 

Just recently I decided I simply must figure it out. IT had to be in proportions and motions. I am getting closer. Jeff has been raving and asked what am I doing different. I think it just takes time and practice.

Also the right kind of flour. In the south, that would be White Lily self rising flour. It is lighter and makes a better biscuit. The other flours have their purposes that White Lily doesn't actually perform well such as yeast rolls, but friends a southern biscuit must be made with White Lily.

The bowl sits at Auburn because I really don't have anywhere to put it, but I would find a place if I didn't have the Auburn house because it speaks to me every time I look at it. Grandma was a blessing and strong example of what a woman should be.

That is the story of my dough bowl.

Now, for the video I watched today. I thought it was a nice view. It uses some of my favorite children's books and has some great lessons for women of all ages and all walks of life.

I still have ironing and more housework and today on tap for supper is chicken and dumplings. I think I have that figured out as well. I made them about three weeks ago and Jeff and Paul Allen raved. Even my mom said they were excellent. She never tells me my things are excellent. She seems to be a bit jealous when I do well cooking in her older age. I keep trying to tell her I know how to bake because of her, but she doesn't seem to like it if my cake is better than hers. I have one that I have mastered and it is way better and one she still has me on. Good grief....she is a character.

Rolling in the dough (the floury kind not the green kind),



  1. Rolling in the dough...I like that! And I know what you mean about the 'best biscuits'. Mine aren't as good as I want them to be. I know not to overwork the dough and I dot the top with butter before they cook. But was it the lard? Or bacon grease on top? I'm not sure but I have memories of good biscuits too. I grew up right next door to my grandparents too and it made my childhood special. Love your dough bowl. Hugs!

  2. Wow, I love that story of your dough bowl. I never really understood how it was to be used...I have my husband's grandmother's bowl, and I know she made biscuits in it, but that was before I came into the family. By then she was quite elderly and didn't do much cooking on her own. But we inherited a lot of her things and that is one of them. Now I have a better idea of how she must have used it. I do bake biscuits, but I use bisquick or jiffy mix. I can make them from scratch, but haven't in a while...I do add extra butter to my mixture, however, and that does make them better. Your chicken and dumplings sounds good. Do you make the fluffy dumplings or what my MIL called "tough dumplings", which are rolled out almost like a thick noodle? I like those best, but again, haven't learned the knack of it. My mother was a "Yankee" cook, so I missed out on some southern traditions, even though she was an excellent cook. My mother in law taught me a few southern things, but she really didn't like to cook so what she told me was just a few specialties. This was delightful, and I am so glad you shared your "Thursday Treasure" with us!

  3. What great memories you have of your grandmother and how wonderful to have her dough bowl and butter press! I enjoyed your blog today and now I want to taste those biscuits AND your chicken & dumplings!

  4. I loved reading about this part of your childhood. Your grandfather making a path between your homes; your Grandma's welcoming smile; making biscuits with your Grandma. I don't have much experience, really at making biscuits from scratch, but you sure have me wanting to learn. Right down to wanting to see if we can buy White Lily flour locally. Wonderful story-telling, Sandy. I also watched the video. I don't know that it makes me want to do housework, but I sure do want to re-read these books now. :) I read them aloud to my boys when they were younger and gave my set to a niece as she when her girls were little. I may need to get myself another set!

  5. Mmmmm.... now I want biscuits for breakfast! :-) Thank you for sharing such a nice part of your childhood with us! It's going to be a good day! :-)

  6. What a beautiful dough bowl you featured in your treasures post! I so enjoyed reading the story to go with it. Will watch the video later! Enjoy your weekend!

  7. what a sweet sweet post....made me smile big time! Love Love Love that dough bowl...I'd have to use it everyday just because of the history behind it.
    I can't make good biscuits.....and I'm a Home Ec major!!!!!


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