I remember waking up in my grandmother's house with the aroma of fresh-baked biscuits wafting into the bedroom. Oh, did they smell good! There was the extra smell of kerosene which heated the small house, probably not a pleasant smell for some, but for me it evokes happy, comfortable, loving memories.
Grandmama, as we called her, would get up every morning at some ungodly hour and make 6 or 7 dozen biscuits. When I was young, she still had 6 children at home — only my mother and her next sister had left. Four of those remaining were boys, so she had to fill them up. Then there were leftover biscuits as well to eat throughout the day, and the ones that were finally left at night were put outside for the cats. (You know, I don't think my cat would even touch a biscuit, but these kitties weren't spoiled housecats.)
When she made the biscuits, there was no measuring cup because it was all done from touch and sight. She knew how much flour she needed, how much shortening to add, and she added the buttermilk until the mixture was just right. I used to be able to pretty much do the same thing, but I quit making biscuits on a regular basis years ago, mainly from lack of time and my expanding hips.
This morning I made biscuits. It's time change day, so I felt like I had an extra hour to kill. A couple of weeks ago as I read the new November issue of Southern Living, I spotted a new biscuit recipe. The authors said they were the best, flakiest biscuits ever. There was nothing unusual about the ingredients — self-rising flour, butter (not shortening or lard) and buttermilk. The difference was in folding the dough similarly to making a croissant. So, I thought I'd give them a try. An hour later I had the best biscuits I've ever had that weren't my grandmother's. An HOUR? I thought about that. If it had taken Grandmama an hour to make biscuits, she'd have had my grandfather and a whole passel of clamoring children glaring at her.
Still they were delicious, and I froze the leftovers for a quicker treat another morning. Sorry, kitty, none for you!