Biscuits and Milk by John Lineberger

thekitchn.com

Fourteen years old, sophomore year cooking class. I was in group D, a letter symbolizing the grade we ultimately should have earned had the teacher not been long past the age of academic integrity. All five of us were boys. The football player, the soccer player, the anime watcher, the French-Asian, and me.

It was biscuit day, and we were all hard at work. Football player was mixing dough, I was holding the milk jug, the French-Asian was lackadaisically mopping an already clean floor, and the other two were nowhere to be found. The usual.

So the football player looked at me and he said, “I think it needs more milk.”

I tipped the milk jug over the bowl and said, “Just say when.”

But he didn’t say when.

I poured the entire half gallon of milk into the bowl, filling it to the brim. Of course, this made the dough un-stir-able, we couldn’t even see it anymore, so we emptied a bag of flour all over the counter. Then we dumped the bowl into the flour so that it would soak up most of the milk—which it didn’t. The milk shot like a water fall off the counter, the flour soaked up into sticky globs of… wet flour, and it glued itself to the table.

All of this commotion startled the French-Asian. He’d cleaned some spilt chili off the floor before, but a mess like this would obviously be a monumental task in comparison. He picked up his mop, ran into the storage closet and came back out with two mops—one in each hand—an apron, and then he set to work.

Now me and the football player were, as our heads waned in this moment of disaster, becoming slightly nervous. Making bad biscuits didn’t mean anything, but making no biscuits at all was something that was well worth a nagging finger, or even the possibility of a grade reduction. So we pulled out the biscuit cutters.

Valiantly, we weaved our hands through all of the sloppy dough and milk, trying to mold some of it together as it stuck to our fingers and wedged up underneath our nails. I think we managed about six of them before tossing it all down on a metal tray. One may think, “They didn’t even spray the tray first?” but it was simply not necessary. The tray was already several centimeters deep in the ever permeating milk, so the spray would have accomplished very little.

Drenched and coated in flour, we let the dough bake for twenty five minutes. The other groups seemed to have paid us little to no attention, an advantage of picking the furthest away corner stove, largely hidden by an old oak cutting table. The French-Asian’s technique of floor cleaning, while somewhat unorthodox and highly experimental, eventually got the job done during this waiting period. The flour that stuck to the table was another issue, but we managed it by using our car keys to scrape off the icky substance, leaving a series of small cuts on the surface which surely could have been explained away as knives or pizza slicers at a later time.

When we scooped the tray out of the oven the biscuits were, if ever there were a need for air quotes, what I would only describe as “biscuits.” They were very tiny, maybe two quarters long, four or five stacked quarters high, and utterly un-crunchable by the human mouth. So we tested it. First, I tried to saw it open with a cutting knife, but it quickly invoked in me the thought of trying the same with a tree. I then stabbed the knife into the “biscuit” as hard as I could and it went streaking like a boxcar all the way down the counter top until it collided with the fridge and spun out.

Needless to say, we were not going to be able to eat those biscuits that day.

Luckily, we were never meant to. You see, in this cooking class, you don’t eat your own food. You trade with another group

About the Author

Top