Mama was Alpha Lee Stuart before she married and became Alpha Lee Stuart Lee from Rt. 2, Red Level, AL.
She was put on the earth to worry about things she could not do anything about–and cook. I could not do anything when she said, “I’m worried about such and such,” except to remind her that she had no more control over some nutcase politician in Washington than she did the moon impacting the tide. But I could sure eat her cooking.
It was southern to the core. The kind of things that women in this part of the world fed to fields hands. Greens, peas, fried chicken–and biscuits.
I once asked for her recipe for biscuits. Might as well have asked for the formula for Coca Cola. She tried her best to tell me how much a pinch of this was or just a dab of something else. It was futile. Her biscuit making obviously was a part of her DNA. Just something that happened automatically, like breathing.
Hers were not light and airy and crumbly like you see in advertisements. She patted them out by hand and they had a sorta, kinda hard crust. That meant they held together when you filled a plate with sugar cane syrup and butter and ran half of that biscuit from the east side of the plate to the west side.
Or when you put some fig preserves in them.
Which was when I was about as close to Heaven as I’ve ever been.
I’m talking about WHOLE fig preserves. Where you put a pile of them in a pot with lots of sugar and boil away. Now much later in life I have discovered that stores sell little jars of what they call fig preserves. But they have been all smushed together and come out of the jar like a paste. You know, like they do strawberry preserves.
But it just ain’t right. Smearing a biscuit, especially one of those light and crumbly ones, with this concoction leaves a lot to be desired.
So this morning I went on Goggle to pick me some figs. Whole figs. Boiled down with sugar. And found some way out in Texas. Ordered two jars. Shipping cost as much as one jar.
I will await them anxiously. But unfortunately, there is no place to order some of Alpha Lee’s biscuits. A damn shame.