Strawberry shortcake with fluffy tea biscuits

I talk a lot about berries on this blog. 

Come September, I’ll be all about apples. Come January, I’ll be all about hiding under my covers with a bag of Sour Patch Kids, Netflix and sweatpants. 

Really, my intention isn’t to make this a seasonal food blog. But, when the seasonal treats are as good as strawberry shortcake, why not? 

I love this recipe, not just because it’s equal parts fluffy and fresh (which is a great Tinder profile bio), but because it has a great story. 

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I watch a lot of Food Network and they are really all about storytelling – really over-the-top, emotional, eye-rolling storytelling. If you’re not on Chopped because everyone, plus your dog, is dead and on drugs, you aren’t allowed to cook. I love when people go on the show and are just like, “I need a vacation. Give me money.” I cheer for those people. 

I say this, but, if I were on Chopped with a dessert basket of strawberries, whipped cream, sugar and shortening, I’d have a tearful story to tell. Let the eyes roll. Here it goes: 

This recipe is my mom’s. The tea biscuit is quite possibly the fluffiest, richest tasting tea biscuit you’ll ever have. A tea biscuit is essential in strawberry shortcake. If anyone tells you they use angel food cake, don’t listen to their advice or eat anything they give you. Run away. 

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My mom learned this recipe in a cooking class she did with her best friend when they married their respective husbands in the eighties. She hadn’t cooked much before this, despite growing up in my grandmother’s kitchen, and thought being a good cook was part of being a good wife. Of course, this is an outdated idea (go easy on me, Internet). I’m a feminist. I think men and women should share responsibilities at home, prepping and cooking together. I grew up with my mom doing the cooking and my dad doing the dishes (a very fair trade, in my opinion, because dishes are the worst). 

For her, cooking for he and I wasn’t about her role in the home. It was about keeping us nourished and healthy and loved. It worked. Mom, if I never told you how much this meant to me then, I know you’re reading now.  

I believe so strongly in eating supper as a family. It’s what I grew up with. It’s what I intend to do when I have a family of my own. Food and tables have a way of connecting people in ways a couch and television can’t. 

If you’re looking for a way to get your family to clamour around the dinner table, this recipe might be the perfect bribe. They’ll come for the cake and stay for the conversation. 

The tea biscuits are so light and the smallest bit sweet. The strawberries stay a bit tart, just holding their shape after hours soaking in sugar. The whipped cream ties it all together. 

I’ll let you in on a little family secret. Butter the tea biscuit. It adds just a hint of salt to balance the sweet and coats the bottom half of the biscuit, keeping it from getting soggy with strawberry juice.

If you make this recipe for your family or BF/GF or friends, I’d love to know! 

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