Maple Bacon Biscuits & Some Food for Thought

Today I want to do something a little different. Yes, these maple bacon biscuits are ridiculously delicious, perfectly classified under "heavenly comfort food" and I could probably go on for a few more paragraphs about how I made them, what I changed, how we served them, etc. But I feel like I've come across such a gem in the book I'm reading... and I want to share it with you (albeit long).

I think food and friendship go hand in hand. Food can be such a warm comfort in troubling times, and can bring people together - even save a life in need, if the occasion calls for it. Below is a beautiful story in which food (such as these lovely biscuits) and friendship played such a key role in helping another.

"My mother loves people by feeding them. She stuffs them with good food - meat, usually, with potatoes and dark gravy. The kind of gravy that has become a lost art, perhaps because we spend less time cooking, less time learning our cuts of meat, less time pushing food on loved ones.

For many of us mothers, feeding people is our love language. When we are too intimidated to express our feelings, particularly when sadness in involved, we resort to casseroles. We bake chicken, cut up carrots, and roll out pie dough. These are the hand motions of a friend who longs to soothe a mother's broken heart. And somehow, miraculously, they do.

When Lisa's husband, Brett, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the first person she called was Beth. Lisa's voice was icy with shock, Beth recalls. Then suddenly, as she was speaking, Lisa broke down and sobbed. Beth could hear her heaving, gasping for air between cries, and Beth remembers the quick conclusion she drew as well: with two small children only one nine months and the other two and a half years old, I wondered how Lisa was going to make it. What about the kids? I thought about the sadness of those two small kids growing up without their dad, but then I felt sorrier for Lisa. She was so young. No one this young should have to endure this kind of trauma, I thought.

Little did Lisa realize that first phone call what the next to years would bring, but what an incredible friend she had in Beth. Being a good ten year older, Beth knew about life with small kids and life with older ones. She knew the difficulties that lay ahead of her friend in venturing to raise the two all by herself. And because she had a background in medicine Beth also knew the gravity of Brett's diagnosis. He would have two years, tops, she knew, but kept it to herself.

There was nothing I could say to take the pain away. I wanted a gigantic magic wand to wave over Lisa and Brett and their kids. I desperately wanted to make the cancer go away. Then I felt so frustrated and I felt like was going to go crazy. So I did what I always do when I feel madness coming on. I started to cook. I'd make cookies and eat half the dough. I felt if the cookies were going to make Lisa and Brett feel any better, they might as well make me feel a little better, too. I made chicken casseroles, lasagna, burritos. Lots of them. I'd freeze them and give half to my boys. 

Pretty soon, weeks went by, then months, and Brett continued to progressively waste away. Sometimes I told Lisa to go out and I'd sit and take care of the kids and talk to Brett. But I found that even while I was at her house, the oven would mysteriously come on and before I even realized what I was doing, the aroma of sweet rolls or some other dessert would be seeping out of it. And the funny things is, I think that subconsciously, I thought that even the smell of food cooking in the house brought optimism. Cinnamon rolls really can counter the smell of death in a home. Or at least the aroma can make you pretend for a minute that life is normal and good. Maybe that's it. It's all about pretend. 

When Brett's last days arrived and he left his home for the last time to go the hospital. Lisa couldn't let him go alone. So she went, too. And who stayed behind? Beth. Without being asked, she simply arrived on Lisa's door with a packed bag to stay with the children as long as she was needed. She literally stepped into Lisa's shoes and took over where she left off, because that's what extraordinary friends do. She cleaned, played with the kids, put them down for naps, and took them grocery shopping.

During those last days, we went to the grocery store a lot. I was in a serious cooking mood. I felt so helpless. I wanted to love Lisa the best I could, but words, hugs, flowers, nothing did it. I don't even know if food did, but I know of one thing, that cooking at least made us all feel that some part of life - maybe the task of keeping it alive - was moving forward. We had to just keep moving forward. That's what cooking meals did for us all. 

Not many of us are fortunate enough to have women in our lives who will love us so well. Ironically enough, Lisa was one of the lucky ones - at least in the friendship department. The love Beth gave to Lisa might even have saved her life. And cooking great food was an integral, wonderfully simple part of that love.

Food doesn't soothe, but the intention does. Where loves stops, chicken pot pies can take over. There is an understanding that while the blender whirls and the oven preheats, the friend in pain is being remembered in her hurt. The cook is thinking of her, wondering how she is faring, what she is experiencing. While friends cook, they slide their feet into the shoes of the hurting Mom in order to participate a bit on the pain she feels. One mother to another. While I bake, give me some of your troubles and I will carry them as best I can, is what the activity sends as intention. I can't be you, but I can be like you in some way. Our common bond as mother is that we must cook for loves ones. So I will cook for you now, says that friend. I can pretend that you are with me and that I can make life better for you. So let me in, says the food."

-The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers, Meg Meeker, MD

Maple Bacon Biscuits

3 slices of bacon
1/4 C maple syrup
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
4 T unsalted butter, chilled, chopped into small chunks
1/4 C buttermilk

1. Turn oven to 400 degrees. Place bacon on cookie sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes until bacon is very crispy. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. If you're a baking-bacon-in-the-oven hater, use your pan and live in denial.
2. Place measured bacon grease in freezer. Seriously. 
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop bacon into small bits and place in a small bowl. Pour maple syrup over bacon bits and stir. Set mixture aside. 
4. Remove solidified bacon grease from the freezer - told you I wasn't kidding. Grease your baking sheet or line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment. Throw in bacon fat and 4 tablespoons butter. Mix until mixture resembles coarse meal. 
5. Add in the maple-bacon mixture and buttermilk. Blend together until just barely moistened. Form into a dough with your hands and pad out dough to about 1-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into dough with a 2-inch glass/cutter (cookie cutter, whatever you use). Arrange biscuits on dish and bake for about 12-14 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve with fresh jam, light gravy, or eggs. 


  1. That was a touching story! It makes me want to go cook something for friends.
    And those biscuits...oh they would be perfect for a biscuit and gravy meal. yummy!

    1. Thanks, Adelina! I was only going to share a paragraph or two, but without the background story, they seemed pretty stagnant. And yes, these biscuits were kind of our favorite thing to devour within a very short amount of time :)

  2. This is a beautiful story about true friendship but also the restorative nature of cooking/baking. Cooking or baking is putting love into action.


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