Southern biscuits are the perfect fictional device for telling the narratives of Southern families. One cook makes his biscuits with White Lily flour only because that’s how his Maw Mae did it. Another swears by lard, as her family never had the funds for high-dollar butter or shortening. Most Southern cooks bake biscuits at least once a week — a ritual and rite of passage as the recipe is handed down through the generations.
My biscuit recipe is much the same. As a transplant to the South, and married into a Southern family, I felt a steep sense of duty in making the perfect Southern biscuit. Truth be told, I don’t think I’ll ever truly master it, but 10 years after taking biscuits to task, I’ve landed on a reliable recipe that I can replicate here in the South or anywhere else in the country with ease.
My Biscuit Story
I moved from the South straight from culinary school and mistakenly thought I had learned everything I needed to know about biscuit-making there. I had come to Atlanta to work as an intern on Alton Brown’s Good Eats, and was immediately set to task making prop food with the rest of the team for an episode on substitutions, including biscuits. My biscuits were wonky despite following Alton’s recipe and following the rules I had learned in culinary school. I had worked the dough too much in trying to master it.
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