When the holidays come round, my family and I turn to Truman Capote’s memories of childhood in A Christmas Memory. The story’s disarming simplicity and wistfulness capture a way of life, and people, long gone yet vividly alive through memory. It’s especially mesmerizing to hear Capote himself read the tale in his unique voice and with his loving, and amusing, inflections.
I have always loved Capote’s descriptions of food in this story. A few years ago, I happened to discover–while reading a farewell piece to renowned Southern chef Edna Lewis in the Dining section of the New York Times–that Capote became a habitue of Lewis’s Cafe Nicholson in New York. She co-owned the restaurant with Johnny Nicholson on the Upper East Side of the city and was known for her amazing culinary skills. Originally from Virginia, Lewis was able to fill Capote’s “nostalgic hunger” for Southern cooking, especially with her famous buttermilk biscuits. Give her recipe a try. I’ve made it for years (the recipe matches that of my maternal great grandmother, who was a Southerner), and I can vouch that it’s easy and quick. The biscuits are the supreme comfort food and are just as good, maybe better?, the next day toasted in the oven and slathered with butter and jam.
Here’s hoping your holiday feasting brings at least one really good stomach sweller your way! And don’t forget to check in next month for more from TFCB.