Cooking From the Heart: Maya Angelou’s Buttermilk Biscuits

05/28/2014 at 06:28 PM ET

Maya Angelou
Rob Schoenbaum/AP

Since her death on Wednesday at age 86, Maya Angelou has been hailed as an award-winning poet, best-selling author and fearless civil-rights activist. It should surprise no one, therefore, that this Renaissance woman was also a welcoming host who put her passion for feeding people into two cookbooks.

In Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories With Recipes, published in 2004, and Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart from 2010, it’s clear that good food was an important part of Angelou’s life, from her childhood in Arkansas to her travels around the world.

She writes that cooking gave her a purpose and a sense of calm, and friends and family were drawn to her table, as well as to her beef Welllington, roasted chicken and lemon meringue pie.

“My grandmother was such a great cook,” Angelou told PEOPLE in 2004. “My mother was also exquisite. She didn’t ever get rattled.”

Maya Angelou's buttermilk biscuits
Random House

Featured in the pages of PEOPLE in 2004, this recipe from Hallelujah! is a tribute to Angelou’s Southern roots:

Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes 24

4 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
6 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup lard
2 cups buttermilk
All-purpose flour, if needed

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Sift 4 cups of flour with salt, baking powder and baking soda. Cut in lard until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add buttermilk and stir until dough leaves side of bowl.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth. Roll out to ½-inch thickness, and cut into 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter or water glass. (If using a glass, turn it upside down, dust rim in flour, then cut biscuits.)

4. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 20-25 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown.

—Nancy Mattia

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Mommy on

who cares

Guest on

She was a lady who was more than just a speaker, more than a writer, more than an actress. She was an inspiration to women, young and old; she showed that intelligence, love of family, and hard work were the keys to having a good life.

guest on

@Mommy, please don’t post negativity. It’s not necessary and no one is making you click on the stories.

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