Today’s In Her Words post comes to us from a past patient of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, Carlette Holmes. Carlette, is a breast cancer survivor who lives in Anderson, SC and traveled to Charleston to receive her reconstructive surgery. Today, Carlette and her childhood best friend partake in a culinary partnership entitled, Buffa’s Cheese Biscuits. The recipe for these delicious biscuits come from Buffa, a cook for Carlette’s grandmother while she was growing up.
See below for out interview with Carlette and to learn more about Buffa’s Cheese Biscuits. All images included are courtesy of Carlette Holmes.
1. Buffa’s Cheese biscuits, even the name just melts in your mouth. Can you tell me a little bit about these delicious biscuits and where the recipe came from?
I think my grandmother found the recipe in a Jr. League cookbook and gave it to Buffa to try. They were a staple after that. They were always on hand in a covered dish as you came into the kitchen. Everyone who came in knew they were there & grabbed a handful. Buffa’s were always good but often different…. sometimes “short” as she would call them, sometimes crispy, sometimes light and puffy or sometimes dark and crumbly. I know now it could have been due to the humidity on any given day. One challenge I faced was to get them to turn out the same every time. Family and friends didn’t seem to care, but I felt it was important when I started selling them.
2. It seems you spent a lot of time in the kitchen with Buffa, do you have a favorite memory with her?
My conversations with Buffa are favorite memories. She loved to talk while she cooked and could tell a great story. Often, I would shell peas or snap beans while she “held court”. I loved to “help” her make jams and preserves.
My least favorite memories are those of grease fires and exploding pressure cookers. I am scared for life, and to this day I don’t like to fry in my kitchen. The first time I tried to fry fish for Edmund is was slightly boiled and awful.
3. You have been making these biscuits for your family and friends for years. What was the turning point for you to finally give in and brand Buffa’s Cheese Biscuits to the public?
I think the turning point was surviving breast cancer. My best friend since 7th grade, and partner in BCB, Lide Vandiver, had been after me for years to brand them, but I had a family to take care of and businesses to help my husband, Edmund run. My 2 daughters, Sally Cade and Brelyn, were in college when I was diagnosed. I got through my treatment and I had been thinking of reconstruction options. I had heard horror stories of implants, expanders and that procedure, and I didn’t think that was an option for me. I researched DIEP flap surgery and was so impressed with the procedure. I truly believe that God led me to The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction. I called another surgeon and was told that they didn’t take my insurance. They directed me to the The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction. I called and got Gail on the phone. This was on the day that I took my last chemo treatment. Gail talked to me for over an hour that day. It felt right and I am thrilled with my decision. As you can probably tell, I don’t let much grass grow under my feet and DIEP flap seemed to me like the best & fastest way to get through the reconstruction process and move on.
4. How did you decide upon what reconstructive option was right for you?
I was pretty excited about getting rid of my C-Section Pooch. It was just the right size to make C-cups.
5. How has your decision to undergo breast reconstruction impacted your life moving forward?
I saw the picture Dr. Craigie took of me the day I came to him… on the day I got my tattoos. That was start to finish in a flash. It was definitely a process, but one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I can remember, 6 weeks after my DIEP flap surgery, sitting on the beach in my bathing suit and feeling comfortable and “normal”. I took out my cell phone and called The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction to leave Dr. Craigie a message of thanks. I don’t have words to describe how good that felt after living with one breast for 6 months. Now they were both gone, but they were there. How amazing! DIEP flap has allowed me to move on. I know myself, and that I would worry if I had not had both breasts removed even though the cancer was only in one. It has been a great decision… nothing to stuff in my bra, no implants to worry about, just my C-Section pooch made into breasts. Dr. Craigie is a real artist (not to mention a gifted surgeon). I am still amazed at how real they look.
6. What advice do you have for women who have a passion, and want to turn that passion into a business?
I think my advice would be to persevere. Lide and I hit obstacles almost every day, but we just have to work through them. I think maybe that fighting cancer taught me a lesson in this. Every day brought it’s obstacles, but I had no choice but to keep moving forward.