Biscuit Line

June 8, 2016 § 7 Comments


It is early June and only now have the lavender Rhododendrons in my neighbor’s yard decided to bloom, something I’m used to seeing in April. The plants here are full and happy. They thrive on a constant cool mist and blossoms stick around for weeks, even the peonies, which are shed like itchy party dresses after a day or two of blooming in North Carolina. I guess there might be something to this whole “Garden State” thing. But still, even though it has warmed up and things are blooming, it doesn’t feel close to summer. Something’s missing.

I call Jeff in New Orleans and there is a loud buzz in the background. “What’s that?” I ask. “Frogs,” he says. “I had twenty-six tree frogs on the outside of my window screen last night. They’re everywhere. There’s a mama fox and three babies under my studio.”

New Orleans is chock full of life, it seems—Jeff even sends me pictures of the luscious crawfish and oysters he eats. This, I think, is mean to do to someone in the Northeast, where living things keep space between them.

I miss all of those creatures roaming around, even the bugs. Ok, maybe not the “Palmetto Bugs” or Camel Crickets, but I miss the sounds of summer in the South—the owls, the cicadas, all chiming in as the sun sets. Life is quieter up here. Maybe it is just slower to wake up to summer.

Jeff continues to send me pictures of his dinners and tell me tales of feasts he’s invited to. So now, my stomach misses summer in the south too. I vow to try to grow some “Jersey Tomatoes,” but I admit, I’m snobby about them. What kind of tomato could New Jersey grow that North Carolina couldn’t top? I long for my old garden, for summer below the biscuit line.

It recently came to my attention that my colleague from Nova Scotia knew nothing about this line. We are riding a train to DC and I wonder aloud if we have crossed it. He is puzzled. “You know,” I say, “the biscuit line: the line where McDonalds starts selling bagels instead of biscuits.”

“Biscuits? You mean, like cookies?” he says. I am aghast. Sure, he is Canadian, but he doesn’t know what a biscuit is. I have never met a human who does not know what a biscuit is. Our seatmates and I try to explain. “It’s savory,” I say. “And it involves a lot of butter.”

“Like a scone?” he asks.

“No. It’s soft and warm.”

“You eat it with gravy,” a woman from West Virginia sitting next to me offers.

“Gravy?” he says.

“Yes. I say. It’s delicious. I can’t believe you’ve never had a biscuit,” I say. “I’m going to have to cook for you.”

It’s these things, the ones I take for granted, that I miss the most– the abundance of life, the availability of comfort foods. Soak them up, people South of the Biscuit line. Soak them up.


§ 7 Responses to Biscuit Line

  • Sheila O'Rourke says:

    Fav line: ” where living things keep space between them.” the south misses you.

  • robinmagee says:

    Ah yes but if this colleague is Canadian or has UK ties the confusion is legit. In the UK a biscuit is any type of cookie. Cookie tins are called “biscuit tins” and one is often asked “would you like a biscuit with your tea?” I am so glad you will introduce this person to Southern style biscuits.
    FYI barred owls and red shouldered hawks vocal as of late…

  • David Lines says:

    Now that you have become a Northerner, you must put away Southern things. 🙂 Just as I cannot find a good bagel in the South, you will not find a good biscuit in the North. On the bright side, you WILL find awesome bagels. Eat a bagel for me and I’ll eat a biscuit for you, deal?

  • BethBingman says:

    Does the biscuit line coincide with the pimento cheese line?

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