Big Daddy was my mother’s dad. His given name was General Price Hunt. He called himself Gene, but his good friends called him Blue. Big Mamma called him Price. I don’t think anyone called him General. I only knew him as Big Daddy and I remember him with perfect clarity. He was such an original Southern character; long of limb, stubbly of chin, quick of temper, and lavish of love. His voice was a sort of raspy, twangy, teasing bellow which he artfully used to spin his yarns about the boys at the 19th hole and other male bastions. Big Mamma would inevitably holler “Price, for heavens sake,” in the midst of these recollections. But on he would go, laughing at himself and his story and those he was telling it to, Big Mamma laughing hardest of all. It was a laugh I have never heard the like of in all my life.
Thinking back on those visits with everyone seated around the kitchen table, the smell of biscuits and butter in the air, I wish I had known him better. If I'd been older I would have asked him questions, maybe recorded his voice and wrote down the tales. The memories I do have of him and Big Mamma remain precious to me and never fail to brighten a bleak day and warm my heart.
Now Big Daddy was not a cook, but whenever we visited we always, without fail, enjoyed (or endured) the necessity of his famous Sugar Burgers (also known as butters ‘n sugars). Big messy platters full of biscuits, slathered with butter and stuffed with brown sugar. And only Ballards Oven Ready Biscuits would do; something to do with his "special" pan and the small size of Ballards biscuits. As a kid getting pumped up on sugar, with permission, was a dream come true.
As an adult this was an indulgence
of fat and calories that good sense would keep you from
eating. But with Big Daddy sitting across from you,
cackling and saying "come on baby, have one of
Big Daddy's sugar burgers",
who could say no?
I always assumed this was a Southern dish since Big Daddy was from Kentucky and lived much of his life in Texas. If I’m wrong about that, please don't tell me. These sweet and buttery biscuits were contraband in our house but nobody, not even my Texan mother Bitsie, could ever say no to Big Daddy.
Big Daddy's Sugar Burgers
1 can Refrigerated biscuits (Ballards if you can get 'em)
Butter (not margarine, not heart-healthy-what-have-you, BUTTER)
Brown Sugar (dark)
Bake biscuits as directed on can
Split open and insert a big fat teaspoon of butter
Add an equally big fat teaspoon of brown sugar
Squeeze it shut to ensure the butter melts and the brown sugar becomes sort of syrupy. (Shove a piece of bacon in the middle and we're talkin' heaven!)
Now, go call your grandparents, or your parents and share a memory or two.