As relief efforts continue in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Matt and I are trying to help in whatever ways we can. All of our efforts feel very small, but the hope is that the small efforts of many individuals add up to something greater. Last Sunday we took a car full of old clothes, coats, canned foods, toothbrushes, and diapers (collected from ourselves and our wonderful neighbors) to a local donation center. We then stayed for four hours helping sort and box clothes. The outpouring of support and donations are amazing and truly touching.
One type of donation that has been called for in the media is stuffed animals and toys for children whose homes were ravaged. For years now, I have been keeping all my childhood stuffed animals in a plastic bin under our guest bed. I loved stuffed animals as a kid, particularly monkeys, and I was an avid collector.
I decided to donate most of them to the kids who have lost their beloved toy companions. I looked through the bin, sorting through faces I hadn’t seen in several years, and got hit with waves of emotion and nostalgia. There was the souvenir from going to Busch Gardens as a kid. There was this guy, who hung from a floor lamp all through college.
There was the one my mom gave me when I got the flu in middle school, even with getting a flu shot, and I should add that my mom got me a get-well companion despite my frequent reminders to her that she’d “made me get a flu shot for nothing!!” I did keep one, my personal childhood favorite, but the rest went to the donation center.
It may seem somewhat trivial to get emotional over letting go of childhood stuffed animals I hadn’t even dragged out of an underbed bin in years, especially considering how much others have lost during this time, but it honestly was a little sad to part with them. I’ll admit I did hesitate for a moment. I can only hope and pray that they give a small sliver of happiness to someone who desperately needs it. I can hope that my doing this small thing is indicative of the overall inherent goodness of humanity, and is an example of how communities do band together in times of need.
I thought the ultimate comfort food was appropriate here. Biscuits were one of my favorite things to nosh on as a child. They still are. Enjoy! And click on this post for a list of ideas for donating and/or volunteering to help in Sandy’s aftermath.
2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 tbs unsalted butter, well chilled
3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Drop in the stick of butter and use a pastry blender or two forks to cut it into the flour. You are done when it looks like pea-size crumbs. Add the buttermilk and mix with a rubber spatula until the dough just comes together.
Knead for one minute. If your bowl is large enough, I find it’s very convenient to just use the bowl, but flour your hands first. Alternately, you can dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it there, again flour your hands first.
The dough will be smooth and no longer wet when you’re done kneading. Make the dough into a ball and then roll it out with a well-floured rolling pin until it’s about an inch thick, maybe a tad less.
Using a round biscuit cutter, stamp out biscuit rounds and place them onto the baking sheet. Bake 10-11 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Serve immediately. You can butter them or spread jam on them if you wish. But I must say, they don’t really need anything to be delicious.