My Biscuits in Print? Perish the Thought.

Publish or perish tombstone

“Publish or perish.” was not an empty threat at the start of my academic career. As a new assistant professor I labored to get research manuscripts accepted in such widely known periodicals as Rural Sociology, Social Psychology Quarterly, and Sociologia Ruralis. At least they were widely known within the very small circle of those of us unkown sociologists who published in them. I produced such riveting titles as “Community Satisfaction as Definition of the Situation” and “Off-farm Employment and Social Networks of Louisiana Farm Couples.”   While that may have been a path to tenure,  it certainly wasn’t a path to seeing my work in popular magazines found in the periodical sections in local markets or in airport terminals.

Community Sat Article Abstract.jpg

I am still waiting for this to catch on and go viral.

That all changed in 1999 when our daughter Sara (this issue’s guest blogger) published an article about me (well, really about my biscuits) in San Francisco Magazine which actually could be found in local markets and airports. It was one of the highlights of my life – which probably says way too about my life. To me, the thrill of having my biscuits featured in a popular magazine was as like being on the cover of Time Magazine.

Time Mag Cover Man and Biscuit

And here we are these many years later with Sara as our guest blogger. Surely, contributing to BigLittleMeals.com must be the pinnacle of her writing career. You will note that she thanks us (her parents) for making her curious about cooking and eating and ultimately for her passion for food writing.

That’s nice, but she doesn’t mention that when she was a newly-minted English lit graduate from UC Santa Cruz, anxious to get into the food scene, I offered her some sage advice (and not about herbs to season a soup). I told her that she shouldn’t start her career in an already crowded and competitive food-writing market such as San Francisco. She first needed to get some practical experience under her belt. Maybe find opportunities in local newspapers or magazines in, say, Baton Rouge or some other less food obsessed place to build up a resume.

Louisiana Mag

Of course, she turned a deaf ear to that advice and hit the streets of San Francisco, knocking on doors looking for writing opportunities. Eventually she somehow convinced the folks at San Francisco Magazine to take her on and it wasn’t long before she became the food editor. So much for my fatherly wisdom.

But enough about Sara. This is Andy’s Corner after all, so I am taking the opportunity to include the original 1999 SF Magazine article about me (ok, my biscuits) and the “famous” recipe discussed in that article (fyi – I couldn’t find an electronic version of the article anywhere, so this is a photo copy of a version I framed and hung on my office wall discreetly enough to not appear to be obvious, but prominent enough not to be overlooked).

Man&Biscuit

 

 

A Man and His Biscuit

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

In a bowl, use a pastry cutter or your fingers to blend the flour and butter together until you have a crumbly texture. then, add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt (adding these three ingredients after cutting in the butter is the key to a flaky biscuit).  Mix well and add the buttermilk. Once the dough has formed, knead it two or three times by gently folding it over itself and pressing down. Flatten by hand into a disk shape until it’s around ½ inch thick. Use a wine glass or biscuit cutter to cut into rounds about 2 ½ inches in diameter. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Serve hot.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 Comments

  1. Bill Falk says:

    Two fond memories here: 1. I was fortunate enough to have the biscuits a few times when we were both young scholars at LSU. We even published some obscure things together!! Not sure if the biscuits played any role in this!! 2. I remember when Sara’s article on her dad’s biscuits first appeared. Our nod here in South FL to biscuits and southern cuisine was fried chicken for dinner last night! Best, Bill

    Like

    • theRaggedys says:

      Thanks for the “fond memories” comment. One of my all time favorites of the “obscure” articles we co-authored was the “Women as Generalized Other” piece; I don’t know how many hundreds of undergrad students I tortured by requiring it for my social psych classes over the years. Hope your fried chicken was up to your high southern culinary standards.

      Like

  2. Helen Weaver says:

    Doctor Deseran & as Sara alway said when she was little, “he’s the kind of doctor that can’t do anything” Well, you are the kind of doctor who can make great biscuits & write a terrific blog. I’ll take the junk food out my oven if you will come over & make your biscuits for me. They really are flakey & oh so good. Your favorite & only sister.

    Like

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