Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tribute to Mrs. Crumley

I could not do a geometric proof if my very life depended on it. The exact date that the Gettysburg Address was given left my mind a long time ago. Don’t even ask me about the Periodic Table. Give me a tube of canned biscuits and I can make you a meal and dessert!
My first Home Economics classes were offered in sixth grade. To my delight, our teacher, Mrs Crumley, proved to be just as practical, down to earth and fun as the subject matter she taught. Our lessons were punctuated with personal stories, money saving strategies, and just good old common sense practices.
Of course before we could begin any actual cooking, we had to master some basic terminology and learn the function of various kitchen tools. Once we knew the difference between “bake” and “broil”, understood what a whisk was for, and realized that proper measurements could make or break a dish, we were allowed put our knowledge to the test.
Our cooking staple was an inexpensive can of biscuit dough. We poked holes in the middle of the biscuits, fried them, and shook them around in paper sacks full of powdered sugar. Viola, delicious, hot donuts for breakfast! As not to be wasteful, we also fried the donut holes to make perfect little bit-sized snacks. Mrs. Crumley explained that she made these donuts on Christmas morning after her kids had opened their presents.
We learned a few more biscuit based recipes. Flatten a biscuit, slather on tomato sauce, cheese, and some toppings and you have perfectly round little individual pizzas. Roll a biscuit into a rope, twist it in the middle, brush with melted butter, and roll in cinnamon and sugar. I swear this makes the best cinnamon twist ever!
Finally, we learned to make one of our teacher’s favorite childhood treats. Stickies were made by rolling out biscuit dough, generously brushing with melted butter, sprinkling a brown sugar and spice mixture all over the top, and cutting into strips. Mrs. Crumley showed us how to use a string to cut the dough into strips, making the recipe safe for children.
As those stickies baked, filling our classroom with their warm spicy aroma, Mrs. Crumley told us of how she loved to come home from school to smell this same scent in her childhood home. The fun, delicious and simple recipes infused with Mrs. Crumley’s stories made this class a memorable experience for me and I’m sure many other students.
Most importantly, I know that as long as I have a can of biscuit dough in my fridge, I can make something delicious!


Marian Allen said...

This is great! We use canned biscuits for lots of stuff, too. In fact, just last night I had pasta and pesto, and I wanted breadsticks. Opened a can of biscuits, rolled them into ropes, rolled them in melted butter, rolled them in a mix of grated Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and marjoram (any herb will do) and baked. My husband LOVES these! We also roll them out flat and cut them into snips and boil them in chicken soup for dumplings.

And don't forget their great value as a childhood curse: "You son of a biscuit eater!" heeee!

zhadi said...

Yummmm! Nothing smells better than bread being baked with sweet, savory cinnamon...or parmesan cheese for tht matter.

Marian, I'd forgotten 'son of a biscuit eater...'