What’s Cooking

I always enjoyed going to my grandma’s house. She would take care of me every afternoon when school let out. She made the best tuna salad sandwiches. I grew up eating those sandwiches while watching Tom and Jerry and Gilligan’s Island.

Some evenings I would spend the night with her. When grandma packed my lunch for school it would contain four leftover sausage patties smeared with mayo on two slices of white bread. I hated those sandwiches but I never told her that.

You see, grandma grew up in the era of the Great Depression and she went to a one room school house. Every morning before completing their chores on the farm, grandma and her siblings had a large hearty breakfast. This delectable breakfast consisted of cat head biscuits, creamy peppered gravy, chocolate gravy, and fried eggs. The eggs were cooked in the leftover lard rendered from either sausage or bacon.

When the chores were done, lunch was packed in a pail and the 30 minute trek began to the school house. Lunch was leftover biscuits and sausage patties or bacon. So looking back now, I understand her reasoning for sending me those putrid sausage sandwiches.

If grandma and her siblings were lucky enough, they’d have a leftover biscuit with honey or homemade preserves for an afternoon snack after school.

Tuna Salad

2 (5 oz.) cans tuna in oil (drained)

2 tbsp. real mayonnaise

2 hard boiled eggs chopped

1/4 c. Diced yellow onion

1/3 c. Chopped pecans

1 tsp. sweet pickle relish

1 tsp. dill pickle relish

1/8 tsp. sugar

Dash of salt

Dash of pepper

Directions:

Mix together and serve on your choice of bread, croissant or cracker variety.

Cat Head Biscuits

4 c. all-purpose flour (not self-rising), plus more for rolling

2 tbsp. baking powder

2 tsp. salt

8 tbsp. (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2 c. buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle a baking sheet with melted butter. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Using two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Pour in buttermilk and mix until just barely combined. It makes a lumpy mass.

Method one: You can turn the lumpy mass out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly, using the heel of your hand, then fold it back over itself. Give dough a small turn and repeat a couple of tomes. Don’t overwork the dough. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough 1 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut out rounds (press cutter straight down without twisting so biscuits will rise evenly when baked). Place biscuits on prepared sheet.

Alternate method: You may also choose to just drop uneven lumps onto the buttered pan. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve warm.

Grandma’s Chocolate Gravy

1/4 c. cocoa

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. white sugar

2 c. milk

1 tbsp. softened butter

2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Mix the cocoa, flour, and sugar together in a bowl until there are no lumps. Pour the milk into the mixture and whisk until well blended. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until its consistency is similar to gravy, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir the butter and vanilla into the mixture until the butter is melted. Serve immediately over cat head biscuits and add a couple of small dollops of butter to top of the chocolate gravy biscuits.

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