Burnt Biscuit

“A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.”

—Tom Stoppard

Today’s story is from Art Ernst.

Burnt biscuit

Art Ernst

Most Savvy Dad stories are special. Some are what we call 10+. That means as good as they get. On that scale, this is an 11.

We found this story floating around the Internet in different forms, “author unknown”. A bit of detective work by our own Chris Neck turned up the original author, original story and some very cool background.

Heat up your coffee. Pour some more tea. Savor this moment. You’re in for a treat.

We’ll start with the email Chris received from the now 85-year old author. Then, in its original form, enjoy one of most touching dad stories (and best life lessons) you’ll ever read.


I am 85 and my mother died in 1966. I wrote this article a number of years ago. I had entered it in a contest (which I didn’t win), but all entries were published.

My article about the burned biscuits, took on a life of its own. I had originally called it “A Lesson Learned at Breakfast 80 Years Ago.”

Since then, I have been receiving it from various places. Some have changed it from breakfast to supper. Others have left out portions or added to it.

I will send you my complete article as written years ago. The article in its travels has usually been signed “author unknown” or “anonymous”. But since it is a tribute to my Dad, I’m more than happy to see it floating around.

I originally wrote it to and for my three children, to pass on to their children. Since my printer is on the blink, I’ll just add it to this letter.

You may use it in its entirety, partially, or not at all.


Art Ernst

A Lesson at Breakfast Eighty Years Ago

When I was a little boy 5 years of age, living on the farm, Mama liked to start the day right by cooking a tasteful breakfast, usually at 5:00 a.m.

Burnt biscuits

Perfectly cooked biscuits

One morning, so long ago, Mama placed a plate of fried eggs and bacon and fried apples in front of all the family, and placed an extremely burned plate of biscuits in the center of the table.

I remember waiting to see if Dad would notice: But all he did was reach for a biscuit, as he smiled at Mama.

I remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing … never made a face or said a word about it.

When I got up from the table that morning, I remember hearing Mama apologize to Dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said. “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.”

Later that morning, I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned?

He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Mama puts in a hard day at work every day and she gets tired: There’s just as much love in a burned biscuit as there is in an unburned one: And besides, a little burned biscuit every now and then never hurt anybody!”

Burnt biscuits

Art and his wife Jane

As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about that morning many times. Life is not always fair and it is full of imperfect things and imperfect people and I’m not perfect.

I forget things like everybody else. But what I’ve learned over the years, is that learning to accept each other’s faults and choosing to celebrate each others differences is one of the most important keys to creating healthy, growing, and lasting relationships.

Throughout our married life, if my wife, Jane, burned something, I’d say, “Sweetheart, I like it that way.” Which I really did, as she prepared it out of love. All her food has one main ingredient, “LOVE”.

And that’s my wish for each of my children and grandchildren; that you will learn to take the good, bad and ugly parts of your life and overcome them with kindness: Because in the end…

True thoughtfulness, forgiveness and consideration will give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit ain’t such a big deal!

This can be extended to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the real basis of all relationships, be it brother-sister, husband-wife, parent-child, partners or just plain old friendship!

  • Learn to be resilient.
  • Be kinder than necessary because everybody you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
  • Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket — keep it in your own.

“So, please pass me a biscuit,” and yeah, the burned one will be just fine! Remember,

“As rain and sunshine nourish the flowers, so praise and encouragement nourishes the human spirit.”

This is the lesson I learned at Breakfast 80 years ago.

“Thanks, Dad!”

From Dad, with Everlasting Love, to Rick, Randy and Heather, and all the Grands.

Burnt biscuits

(L-R) Wife Jane, son Rick, daughter Heather, son Randy, and Art

Art lives in a retirement home in Nebraska with his wife of 57 years, Jane. Art is a former Methodist Minister who now enjoys writing poetry and visiting with his three children and seven grandchildren.

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