Mama’s Southern Homemade Biscuits

October 17, 2011

(Plain) Flour and (lite) milk.

Image via Wikipedia

It took years before I was able to make biscuits like my mother. I didn’t say they were as good as her’s, but they look pretty much the same. Growing up in my household meant fresh homemade biscuits every day. Mom usually made them for dinner but sometimes breakfast was a stack of biscuits with cream and honey,  a favorite of my Dad’s.  He would get the fresh cream from a neighbor down the road that raised milk cows.

Youngins that grew up on southern biscuits know they are made by hands that love them. Maybe that is the secret ingredient that makes them so special. My mother always made it a treat for the grandkids. Each child got a small amount of dough to shape into whatever creature they wanted. Most turned out to look like snakes. Little faces sat patiently while the biscuits cooked and quickly identified their creation as they came out of the oven.

Like I said, it took years to finally make a biscuit  like my mother’s. I watched her carefully because she never measured anything. She just threw the ingredients together like clock work.  For what it is worth, here is her recipe as far as it can be interpreted:

2 cups of self rising flour
1/4 cup of Crisco
clabbered milk

For those who do not know what clabbered milk is, it is soured milk that has not been pasteurized. Remember that neighbor down the street with the cows? Dad bought milk from her as well as the cream.  Since it had not been pasteurized, it was safe to let sit at room temperature until it began to sour. The sour part would rise to the top, looking curdled and that was the clabbered milk. Using it in biscuits was common before households had refrigeration. It is a wonderful ingredient that gives the biscuit more flavor.

Mix the flour with the Crisco and then slowly mix in the clabbered milk until the dough is real sticky. Begin kneading by flouring your hands. Don’t add more flour, just dust your hands till the dough is well blended and flexible.  Kneading too much can make the dough tough.

Pinch off balls about the size of a small lemon. Place the biscuits on a dark, greased baking dish. Let stand for about 15 minutes or until the biscuits have risen a little. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove when the tops are brown. Let sit in a bread basket for 10 minutes before serving.

Find a good neighbor that raises milk cows and arrange to buy some milk and cream. That is the country way and the southern way, but if it’s not possible for you, substitute the clabbered milk with buttermilk. One thing you can try is the cream and honey. Just mix some together on your plate and dip your biscuit in for a real palate delight!

I will never forget rolling out biscuit dough as a child or watching my children do the same with my Mother. She is no longer here to make the biscuits with the grandchildren and great-grandchild,  but I will bet you there is not a one of them, that forgets making biscuits with their Nana, or the wonderful smell as they cooked and the excitement they felt when their biscuit was recgonized from all the rest.  Enjoy this good old fashioned recipe, and make some great family memories while you’re at it.



Be On the Lookout At the Grocery Store

September 14, 2011

Grocery Store Green Bell Peppers

Image via Wikipedia

Going to the grocery store can result in high anxiety and a loss of more money than you planned to spend. Be prepared with a list of things that you need and look only for those items. Do not travel down an aisle unless it has an item you are looking for. Check the sale prices of similar items. Consider the weight of an item such as sugar. If you haven’t noticed, sugar is packaged in four pound packages now instead of the usual five pounds.  Compare the price of the ten pound bag with two-four pound bags. It is probably cheaper to buy the ten pound bag. Don’t be fooled by sale gimmicks meant to entice over buying. You do not have to buy all ten items on the 10 for $10.00 sales. Buy what you need and leave the rest. You will still get the items for just one dollar.

Manufacturers have lowered quantity and increased prices so the consumer gets less for more costs. Be diligent and carry a calculator to figure the unit price. Dog food is an item that is packaged smaller than what most consumers are used to. Instead of the 20 pound bag, you get 17 pounds. Consider another brand in larger quantities from a feed store if you have large or multiple dogs.

The meat counter is a challenge. If you like to buy meat under glass you might have noticed that it looks different once you get it home. The red meats look less red, and the seafood looks smaller. The glass can distort the way food looks,  so ask the clerk to show you the meat above the case. The large shrimp may all of a sudden look like medium size.

One more item to be diligent about is the check-0ut. Watch  the screen as the items are scanned and be sure they are correct. Sale items have to be scanned into the system or the machine will charge the usual price.  Be sure your items have been scanned correctly, especially on the first day of sales. Check the weight and charge on produce, sometimes the clerk does not know a turnip from a rutabaga.  Use coupons and the store card for discounts that will help you get out the door with some money still in your pocket.