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May4WedHow Mom's homemade tea biscuits cheered a lonely soul. May 4, 2016 by Pamela Richardson
When I think about my childhood, there is one memory that stands out for me. It involves homemade tea biscuits—lots and lots of homemade tea biscuits—always made fresh, and always made at least two dozen at a time. These biscuits are a Newfoundland staple and a regular feature in my mother's kitchen.
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- Faith & Friends
Over the years, my mom has made thousands—and given away most of them.
Senior citizens and Bible study groups, new neighbours, family, friends and colleagues have all benefited from her baking skills.
One person in particular stands out as I think of those biscuits. On my first day in a new school, I met a girl unlike any other. “Mary” used colourful language, talked back to the teacher and rarely went to church. Despite the fact that my parents were Salvation Army pastors and our family regularly attended church, we instantly became friends.
Soon, Mary started coming to my house to walk with me to school. When she arrived early, my mom would invite her to join us for breakfast. The tea biscuits were usually fresh out of the oven. Before long, my friend became a regular fixture at our table.
We stayed in touch for years, but I didn't realize the significance of those early morning visits until we were adults. As it turns out, Mary's home life had been dreadful. Her father's infidelity brought untold stress and heartache. Her mom didn't cope well and often took it out on her children.
It wasn't so much about the biscuits as it was the warmth and stability she felt when she shared them with us. It was about my family taking the time to welcome a lonely girl into our home. To us, the tea biscuits were an everyday occurrence, but to my friend, they meant so much.
It's often the little things that we do for others that hold the most significance. A smile, an invitation for coffee—or a warm tea biscuit—can make a huge difference to someone who's having a rotten day. Seemingly insignificant gestures can take on great meaning. The Bible says: “Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24). Words to live by.
Mom's Tea Biscuits
1 L (4 cups)
175 ml (3/4 cup) sugar
30 ml (2 tbsp) baking powder
250 ml (1 cup) butter
250 ml (1 cup) raisins (optional)
175 ml (3/4 cup) milk
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
COMBINE flour, sugar and baking powder in large mixing bowl. CUT in butter until the mixture has a crumbled texture. STIR in raisins (optional). In separate bowl, WHISK together eggs, milk and vanilla extract, and stir into crumbled mixture to make a soft dough. Transfer the dough to floured surface. KNEAD 6-8 times and flatten to thickness of 1.5 cm (1/2 inch). CUT into rounds with cookie cutter and place on cookie sheet. BAKE at 200 C (400 F) for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Yields 24 biscuits.