It has happened. I have become the kind of person who photographs her breakfast! It wasn’t so long ago (maybe a month) that I was reading an article in the New York Times about a person who takes photos of everything he eats and then tweets it and I veritably SNORTED with superiority over how silly that sounded.
And then cut to December 16th!
I wanted to write my poem to Bisquick, my tribute as it were. I have even photographed the box with a festive Poinsettia, in case you wanted to use it for your holiday card (!). See the bottom of this post.
Let me begin at the beginning.
I was raised never to use a mix when I am baking — except for Bundt cake. My mother, who lost her mother when she was young, only managed to wrest a few pearls of culinary wisdom from her parent before they were parted forever, but the necessity of creating everything from scratch (save Bundt) was one of those handful of maxims she was able to preserve and pass down to me. (Why Bundt is capitalized is a whole other topic.)
Imagine my surprise then, to discover that some mixes, a very few, an elite handful, are actually not only delicious but cunningly clever in certain recipes. I am not talking about most mixes. I am primarily just referring to Bisquick, the granddaddy of biscuit mixes, the King of breakfast.
I think I bought a box of Bisquick initially because I wanted the Box Top for Education (I collect them for the 4th grade class where I teach science as a volunteer once a week). Once I had it in the house, however, it was a revelation. I discovered that Bisquick not only made light, fluffy, absolutely fool-proof pancakes (see photo above) but also that the actual biscuits that were presumably the origin of the product, literally took 5 minutes to mix and 10 to bake and melted in your mouth. I have since graduated to making quick breads and muffins with Bisquick as a substitute for the dry ingredients — and more on that in a later post (big raves — that’s all I’ll say).
Yes, I come from Berkeley, California where Michael Pollan is trying to alarm us all about high-fructose corn syrup (there isn’t any in Bisquick, for the record) and hell yes — there are WAY more than five ingredients in my box of Bisquick (I count at least two kinds of hydrogenated oil and dextrose which is sugar — but everything else is pretty innocuous stuff) but hear me out.
I am lactose-intolerant to the extreme and it’s hard for me to reproduce the delicious mouth feel and taste of foods that are made with butter. The white-coated geniuses in the lab at General Mills, by hydrogenating those oils and adding sugar and salt aplenty, have fixed that problem and added a depth and deliciousness to the mix that I am at a loss to describe.
The recipes on the box are pretty awesome too. That’s the other thing about food scientists on the payroll of big cereal corporations — they do their homework. Unlike some fancy cookbooks (I won’t name names), the people in the lab don’t have the luxury of making a recipe overly complicated or missing a step. They ensure it’s all there, simple and clear, and moreover, they make sure it’s tasty as hell before they include it on their box.
Hail Bisquick. Here is the photo for your holiday card: