Good afternoon. We've gotten a mixed bag of weather the last couple days. We ended up picking up 0.51 inches of rain Saturday, mostly sprinkles with a few heavy showers. The same seems to be holding true Sunday with a few rumbles of thunder rolling through. We even enjoyed a brief appearance by the sun before lunch. Saturday's high was 52 with a low of 49, only a three-degree swing all day.
I was listening to some music while making breakfast this morning and these songs played in alphabetical order: "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" and "Blue Skies." I always listen to the NOAA weather forecast about 5 a.m., but Willie Nelson provided a pretty accurate forecast for the first half of Sunday, too.
I read recently that Knoxville just finished hosting its International Biscuit Festival this weekend. I'd like to catch that event sometime. I did hear from former LeConte crew member Al Bedinger that Ann Farrar, who's no stranger to LeConte and is married to former crew member Dick Ketelle, is a past winner in the standard biscuit category.
The humble biscuit is a big part of breakfast here at LeConte Lodge. Depending on the number of guests and crew on the mountain, 45-75 biscuits are made fresh from scratch every morning in a kitchen without electricity. Most days Chris makes breakfast. General manager Tim Line makes breakfast when he's helping out at the lodge. When Chris is on days off, breakfast duties fall on the assistant manager's shoulders. In recent history, that list includes Henry Neel, Meredith Freeland and me. I've sampled biscuits from all of them and can attest to their skill.
Everyone likes to make fluffy pancakes and lumpless grits, but assistant managers take pride in their biscuit acumen. Biscuits take more time start to finish than any other item on the guest menu--breakfast or supper. When I'm making breakfast, I get up at 4:45 a.m., and am in the kitchen by 5 a.m.
Just about everyone on the mountain uses the same recipe (Henry used to vary it just a bit), but all the biscuits turn out a little different by the end of the process. That reminds me of the explanation for why they made double batches of solid rocket fuel (the two white rockets bracketing both sides of the shuttle orbiter) for the space shuttle missions. You can take the same recipe, but there's always a little variation when you have two cooks. And if you're headed to space you don't want one solid rocket booster more stout than the other. Thus, NASA's contractors "doubled the recipe" to get our astronauts into space with identically powered solid rocket boosters and fuel made from the same batch.
After you cover LeConte biscuit making theory and space science in one entry, there's nothing left to say. I hope everyone had a fine weekend. Happy trails.
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