The South sure loves it's biscuits and it used to be that you weren't much of a Southern cook if you couldn't make biscuits. There were all shapes and sizes, rolled, patted, cut or shaped by hand, cooked brown with maybe thickened gravy poured over it, or filled with Mama's blackberry jam. Nothing better anywhere around.
photo from http://tim.rocketry.com
I am Southern... deep South, I'll thank you... Alabama born and bred and I should have known how to bake a biscuit when I got married. But, I grew up in a household full of women (my Grandma, an 'old maid' aunt and an aunt who was 'looking'). Daddy had died and Mama worked so this group of women took care of me. However, they never taught me how to do a blasted thing. No bed making, no dusting, not even how to bake a biscuit.
Well, I up and married young and my brand new husband moved me clear across the country and I was supposed to become a 'housewife' over night. Huh, what's with that? One day as he headed off to the base he asked me if we could have biscuits for dinner that night. This was way before the internet where you can look up anything or Paula Deen on television. I didn't even own a cookbook and I didn't know anyone to ask. So, I just pulled up what memories I had from watching my Mama make biscuits and set to work.
I dumped some flour in a bowl. Let's see.... Mama would then put lard into the flour mixture. Lard? I had shortening so I spooned some of that in. I then poured in some milk. Mama would mix all that up with her fingers but I was sort of a prissy gal and didn't want to get all that gooey mess on my hands so I stirred it with a spoon. Mama had never measured anything so I just guessed. What was good for Mama was good enough for me.
I dropped the sticky dough by the spoonful onto a pan and stuck it in the oven. Wow, I was so proud of myself. But, not having a recipe to follow proved disastrous.
We sat down to eat and Elbert picks a biscuit up, gently 'weighing' it up and down in his hand and then, as a joke, he flung it against the wall. I'll tell you, I did not see one ounce of humor in that!! He was not a mean man and didn't mean to hurt my feelings, but I cried and told him he'd not get another biscuit from me until he got back from his overseas tour of duty. That would give me enough time to learn how to make some good ole Southern biscuits. He hugged me and said he was sorry.
I've made my share of biscuits in the years since. I do a much better job of it now. If any Southern woman is reading this (or Northern, I am not particular) and you have a young daughter. For goodness sakes teach her how to make biscuits. Or better yet, show her the way to the nearest Hardees.