While living in the South, I found one item on everyone’s table, the biscuit. Some were sweet, some were savory, some were overflowing with buttery goodness, and each recipe was deeply rooted in family history. Biscuits are actually easy to make (if I can do it, so can you), some self-rising flour, butter (or lard), and buttermilk and you have all you need to make the most flakey, golden, delicious buttermilk biscuits. However, I discovered biscuits are so much more than those three ingredients. For me, biscuits became a way to connect with others and as a form of self-care.
Biscuits create connections
I have a lot of biscuit recipes, many given to me by friends with the roots of that recipe grounded in cultural practices, family traditions, and history. As I make triple butter biscuits, I will always remember my friend, Searcy Winn. Each lesson with Miss Searcy was more than baking, it was a lesson on compassion, understanding, and unconditional love. When I make buttermilk biscuits, I think of my neighbors, Roy and Lou Mae Boutwell. Lou Mae would always come to my screen door and say, ‘Hey, y’all. Anybody home?” As we would visit, Roy and Lou Mae would share love stories from their 66 years of marriage, and over time, they were not just our neighbors, they became family. The simple act of enjoying each other’s company and creating dishes created an emotional connection. For me it is biscuits, for others, it may be grandma’s famous turkey at thanksgiving, Uncle Aaron’s secret recipe burgers for the Fourth of July, or papa’s burnt offerings for Memorial Day. It is through the dishes that we create, memories, relationships, and emotional connections.
Biscuits are self-care
The physical act of preparing dishes is also therapeutic. Baking reduces anxiety and provides a low-stress environment. Getting my hands dirty as I incorporate the butter into the flour so that they are pea-sized bits, folding the dough to incorporate air, and using my favorite tin can to cut the biscuits, quiets my mind. It engages my sense of smell and touch, and eventually being able to see and taste the biscuits is a form of mindful wellness. This meditative mindful practice pulls my consciousness to the present moment, creating calm and peace, as I focus on the task in front of me. Being present in the moment, allows me to let go and enjoy the process.
Senior clinical nutritionist, Hannah Dalpaiz, found being creative in the kitchen reduces stress, stimulates the brain, and creates connections to people and places. Additionally, in an article published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers found that those who participated in creative outlets, like cooking, boosted positivity and were more enthusiastic! So, what is your go-to dish that helped you create emotional connections or helps you in your holistic health journey? Share your story in the comment section below.