The retreat from child rearing is, at some level, a symptom of late-modern exhaustion — a decadence that first arose in the West but now haunts rich societies around the globe. It’s a spirit that privileges the present over the future, chooses stagnation over innovation, prefers what already exists over what might be. (h/t Marginal Revolution)
We were talking about biscuits and their function in a meal. I related my Tennessee-born friend’s remark: “My mother made biscuits every day of her life.”
We talked then of biscuits as bread — as a stand-in for yeast-raised bread. Yeast bread most often has a kind of neutrality, mostly noticed if poor, but also if well-made, only excepting those with added cheese. or olives, or seeds.
It seems, then, that rich biscuits, or sweet ones, won’t serve the same neutral function for those eating biscuits every day (or every meal).
Further, a rich biscuit is not a frugal biscuit. And much of rural America, for much of the 20th century, made do with what was at hand.
So we postulated a past of leaner biscuits versus our present fat ones. (This has a parallel with the evolution of the muffin. More on that anon!)
Here’s our research:
(click to enlarge)
The rough take? Leaner then, richer now. Actually, that’s a lot leaner, a hugely different formula.
We’ll test the old recipes and report back. More observations will follow.
The harder life is, ” she murmured, ” the less people ask of it. People who don’t know fear or hunger or pain want a lot. Those that face those things are happy if they have one small break. Terror makes us all very humble. How quick pride falls.”
– Aurora Brant to Jim Keene in Rim of the Desert (1944), Ernest Haycox, p.237-8