For this month’s Movies and Munchies, my friend Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm challenged us to watch the drama, Hidden Figures, which ties in both black history month and women’s history month.
I think I had seen Hidden Figures when it first came out, because I remembered the basics but almost no detail. As I was looking to see if the library had the movie, I noticed that there was a book and that the book had come first! Well, that’s all this librarian needed. I checked out the book (from the biography section) and started reading before I rewatched the movie.
Here’s my review
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book covers a fascinating topic and I was so glad to learn about the women who were such an integral part of NACA and then NASA. It truly unfortunate, however, that the material was presented in such a dry, monotonous manner. I found myself skimming through most of the book, looking for the interesting tidbits that were hidden within a bunch of fluff.
View all my reviews
It was surprisingly disappointing for such a compelling subject matter.
Then I watched the movie which was essentially the good nuggets of the book with (most) of the fluff removed (and a little bit added for dramatic effect). For those who are unfamiliar, the book and movie follow 3 African American Mathematicians as they work as NASA and eventually help land astronauts on the moon in the space race of the 1960’s. Space travel truly wouldn’t have been possible if not for these women working in a field that, at the time, was unfriendly toward women and African Americans.
What I loved about the book that was missing in the movie was that NASA began as NACA building airplanes for WWII and that all three women in the story started working for NACA at that time and had very long careers with NASA. What started as hiring women and African Americans because so many men were deployed ended up opening career paths that were virtually unknown to those groups at the time and put NASA ahead of many when it came to desegregation.
Now this is called Movies and Munchies so what to make? There was no food at all in the book. In the movie, there is a picnic scene, a baking scene, and a dinner scene. Collard greens are mentioned and everything else takes sharp eyes and a bit of imagination.
I decided to get inspired by the picnic and what would likely be there along with the ham and collard greens. I spotted what I thought looked like biscuits in the background, so that’s what I’m making today.
Biscuits have been something of an achilles heel for me in baking. I grew up with Bisquick biscuits (and loved them!) but since I am always trying to make things from scratch, biscuits were one of my pursuits. If you dig back through the blog, you’ll even find various attempts that were good enough to blog, each better than the last.
And yet, they were so fussy that I rarely made biscuits. Then I planned a meal with biscuits and forgot to allot myself enough time to make said biscuits. So I rushed to my keyboard frantically searching for something faster. My search pointed me to a book that I owned but never read (and now that I’ve found such a stellar recipe, will definitely be reading more closely) and made the fastest, easiest biscuits out there. And so so good!
Since discovering this recipe I’ve made them over and over again. Today was a great opportunity to finally take photos since this is a proven winning recipe!
Easiest Buttermilk Drop Biscuits
Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated: The Science of Good Cooking
½ cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted & cooled slightly
1 cup cold buttermilk
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and line a making sheet with parchment or silicone mat.
Mix the cold buttermilk into the melted butter until small clumps form. Add the dry ingredients and stir until mixed.
Drop 3-4 tablespoons of batter onto the prepared baking sheet (I used my large cupcake scoop).
Bake in the preheated oven for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for a few minutes and serve.
Makes 12-15 biscuits