Peter Cabot Gets Lost- biscuits
I didn't know they had biscuits this far west.
They certainly didn't have them in Massachusetts.
I know that every post basically I write basically starts the same, but the thing is I just LOVE Peter Cabot Gets Lost, by Cat Sebastian. To be fair, I have not read anything by Cat Sebastian that I did not like, but for some reason this 1960s grumpy-sunshine road trip not even spoke to me, it straight up sang to me. I think I've re-read it about a dozen times. And the next installment in the Cabot books comes out soon! November 8th! And since I anticipate being deeply into Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble at that point, I'm giving this shout-out a bit early.
I just loved Peter and Caleb so dearly and instantaneously. They grow as people throughout the book, of course, but from the first page I knew I loved them both. I loved Peter's deep desire to help and take care of Caleb and I loved Calebs acerbic nature and righteous fury at Peter's... you know... existence.
They are just the perfect couple. I love how good Peter tries to be (and is!) and I just love Caleb's sarcastic cranky angry everything. This book made me reflect on my love of grumpy characters. I loved these characters and their interactions so much that I was like I should read more grumpy-sunshine books, but then, the more I thought about it the more I realized that it's not so much that I love grumpy-sunshine dynamics as that I just love sarcastic assholes with hearts of gold. Like, I adore Kris Ripper's The Hate Project and that's a double-dose of sarcastic grouch/ass perfection, and of course I have made no secret of my adoration for Alexis Hall's Boyfriend Material in which Luc is introduced with, "And my problem, as always, was not knowing what kind of asshole I wanted to be."
But it's more than just Caleb's grumpiness or the grumpy-sunshine dynamic at work here. The balance in this book is incredible. Balance between Peter's need to please and Caleb's (completely valid) anger at Peter's privilege. They way they come together and the absolutely incomparably perfectly balanced sexual dynamics. The way Caleb's insults lose their sting. The way their personalities so clearly come out with how they deal with sex and dating and relationships and particularly how they deal with that with each other. It's just... lovely? perfect? Yes. Lovely and perfect.
The writing is just... beautiful. I don't know what it is (which is why I write a blog, not novels) but there is something about the language in this book that is just extraordinary... it's funny and sweet and hot and poignant and all the things it wants to be exactly when it wants to be them and it's all expressed perfectly.
Caleb's reaction's are probably my favorite bits... his reactions to Peter's honesty and emotions... the bit when he forgets to eat the eggs on his fork halfway to his mouth because he's so lost in his head... his reaction to the Rockies cracks me up in a deeply personal way, because when I was a kid my parents decided that going out west to some national parks was a good family vacation and my older sister basically spent the entire trip saying, "oh look... more big rocks," in the flattest most teenager-y voice you can possibly imagine, so cranky Caleb's complete opposite reaction is really just... lovely... But nothing beats the Grand Canyon. I've never been, but his reaction to the Grand Canyon nearly broke my face it was just so good.
And, just as important to me, there is some great food in Peter Cabot Gets Lost. Lots of roadside diners with burgers and fries and hotdogs and shakes, vanilla and strawberry iced creams, sandwiches and strawberry pie, and so much motel coffee... it's really just lovely Americana, but there were two things I really wanted to make.
I really really REALLY wanted to fry a bucket of chicken, but then I had to think about where I'd get the bucket and who I'd eat it with and honestly like, I always burn myself when I deep fry things and fried chicken kind of intimidates me and I do have this desire to try and do a copycat recipe of Willie Mae's fried chicken for myself but I digress because in Oklahoma, even more enticingly than the Chicken Bucket's bucket of fried chicken, the boys have biscuits that are better than Caleb's mom's. Better than Caleb's grandma's. And when I read that I just thought, I would kill for a biscuit. I want *those* biscuits.
Because I fucking love biscuits. If biscuits are an option I will always choose them.
And to be clear, I don't mean British biscuits (though I have plenty to say about those) I mean fluffy, White Lily flour and buttermilk and buttery fluffy fluffy flufftastic savory pillows of goodness. With or without sausage gravy.
I have made biscuits myself many times various types, especially a lot of ones from a King Arthur Flour recipe for sourdough discard cuz I did do the whole Covid sourdough starter thing. But I have never made the perfect biscuits. It's been a project I'd planned on embarking on for a long time, long before I read Peter Cabot Gets Lost, which I figured was just a great opportunity for me to break into the several cookbooks I own which are specifically dedicated to southern or New Orleans or comfort food and much to my disappointment, I didn't find what I was looking for.
But I did have a bag of White Lily flour with a recipe on the bag, and I thought... Toll House have a recipe for pretty much perfect chocolate chip cookies so why not give it a shot?
I don't know if they're better than Caleb's mom's or grandma's but they were delicious and would absolutely 100% satisfy my biscuit craving any day.
You can, of course, use other brands if you can't get White Lily, and maybe it's just like, really successful marketing that everyone says it's the best flour for biscuits, but if you can get White Lily, give it a shot? i certainly wasn't disappointed.
LIGHT AND FLUFFY BISCUITS
- 2 cups White Lily Enriched Bleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 Crisco All-Vegitable Shortening
- 3/5 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 475F
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Cut in shortening with pastry blender or knives until crumbs are the size of peas.
- Blend in just enough buttermilk with a fork until dough leaves the sides of the bowl.
- Turn dough out on lightly floured surface.
- Knead gently 5-6 times, until just smooth. You really want to be quick with this- you don't want to warm up the shortening or they won't fluff up as well.
- Roll dough 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
- Cut out using floured 2" biscuit cutters (You can slice with a sharp knife into square biscuits if you don't have biscuit cutters)
- Place on baking sheet about 1 inch apart
- Shape dough scraps into ball and pat out until about 1/2 thick and cut out remaining biscuits. If the dough is warm you might want to chill before baking to keep them fluffy.
- Bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
- Brush with butter.
If that doesn't make you crave biscuits I don't know what will.