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Biscuits. It hardly gets more southern than this. Biscuits might even be considered a downright staple in the south. If New York has their bagels, then the south has their biscuits.
My mom was from the south, and there were hints of her southern upbringing sprinkled throughout our lives. Like the fact that, for dinner, she would occasionally make fried chicken. Real fried chicken. The kind that is floured and battered and then fried in a cast iron skillet. Honestly, as a kid, I didn’t fully appreciate the effort that went into making fried chicken. The mere act of heating up an entire skillet of oil (Crisco, always, when I was growing up), and then skillfully frying it up to just the right doneness, is beyond anything I will even attempt in my kitchen. I’m not sure which is more intimidating: The idea of a skillet full of boiling hot oil on my stove, or the fact that the oil then needs to be dealt with afterwards (which in my childhood home meant it was saved in a can for future uses — ugh). Either way, it’s both a skill, and desire, I never achieved. Which is why this post is not about fried chicken.
I think the best part of those fried chicken dinners was the homemade biscuits. My mom had this green bowl that she used for making bread. It was the bowl that she used at Christmas to make her cinnamon rolls, but it was also used when she made biscuits. Funny how at some point in its life, that bowl was shiny and new. I have just always known it as a well-used, slightly blemished bowl. Just looking at that bowl, I can picture it in Mom’s kitchen full of the the sticky biscuit dough.
Biscuits are everywhere these days. The Colonel serves them with his meals. McDonalds makes them into breakfast sandwiches. The Pillsbury Dough Boy has his “Poppin’ Fresh” version. But, all biscuits are not created equal and those other biscuits can only wish that they were the real thing. So, while there are many opportunities to find a biscuit, let’s just say that very few options out there compare to an honest-to-goodness homemade biscuit. Once you’ve had a warm, flaky, buttery biscuit fresh out of the oven, you’ll understand what the imposters lack.
I have to admit, when it comes to making biscuits, I’m not much of a purist as far as southern traditions go. Maybe it’s because, while I have southern genes, I am definitely not southern. I was born in Denver and raised in Seattle. My biscuit-making process varies from the traditional that any southern baker is probably quite firm, and passionate, about. I use a food processor. I don’t worry about what flour I use. And, I use a rolling pin to roll out the dough. Any good, and true, southern baker, would most likely call any of this blasphemy.
But, what I do know is that this recipe makes some darn good biscuits. And that’s good enough for me.
Click here to get recipe