Baking Up Memories

 When I was growing up we would take our annual pilgrimage to Kentucky each summer.  Loaded up in a Honda Civic, four of us would make a two day drive from North Dakota.  Spending time with both sets of grandparents was a key factor in this trip and we would take turns staying with each.  My maternal grandmother's house was small and somewhat vintage in nature.  She and my grandfather didn't have indoor plumbing until the late 1970's.  Yes, that meant using the outhouse and washing clothes in the wood shed in a ringer washer.  

She put a full meal on the table three times a day and I fondly remember her making biscuits.  


She would take a large wooden bowl out from underneath the sink.  It was covered with a flour sack converted into a dishtowel.  The bowl was always full of flour.  




In the middle of the flour she would make a well.  A little milk went into the well along with some lard.  There were no measurements.  She would work the lard into the flour and add more milk as necessary.  



In mere moments dough had formed as she worked the ingredients with her long fingers.  The dough was always a perfect, round ball.  She would lift it out onto a board and pat it smooth.  There would be no bits of extraneous dough in the flour bowl.  It was covered with the dishtowel and placed back under the sink.  


She used a small tin can to cut out her biscuits.  There were no fancy tools or stainless steel biscuit cutters. And, there was never a mess.   



The biscuits were placed on a small, black rectangular pan, with their sides touching, so as to give the biscuits soft sides. 


And, if I wasn't up early enough for breakfast, which as a kid I wasn't, these biscuits were always kept warm for me in the oven.  They were always perfect

I have been making more biscuits than usual during our snow days.
 I think of my grandmother each time.  




Michelle's Biscuits as adapted from Better Home and Gardens 

2 cups White Lily self rising flour - sifted
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk

Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl.  Add shortening and cut in dry mixture with a pastry cutter until shortening is smaller in size than a pea.  Gently stir in milk until a wet dough is formed.  Place dough on floured surface.  Knead the dough very gently and pat it out to about 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut with desired biscuit form.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  I use a baking stone with great results.


Comments

  1. Hi Michelle, Oh how I remember family members making homemade biscuits too, Those are memories one never forgets.....it was a harder life then, but a simpler one. We actually have the best of both, if we choose. Your biscuits are sweet and I'm sure delicious! Blessings~~~Roxie

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  2. My mom made biscuits without measuring...always had a metal pan in the flour, she always used White Lily....anyway, she never used a biscuit cutter. She just pinched off a little ball of dough, rolled it around between her hands, placed it in the pan and patted it a little bit. They were always the same size...and I would give anything to have some of them again!

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  3. Such nice memories..so glad you shared with us. I remember my great grandmother making biscuits and sure wish I had that recipe. xo

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  4. Good morning, Michelle. Mama's biscuit pan was blue spatterwear and had a lid. Exact same process as your grandmother except once the ball was formed, she'd pinch off a little ball, roll it around in her hands to smooth it a bit and then put it on flat 10 inch round cast iron biscuit bakers. She make 3 bakers full every morning. (I had two older brothers at the table, plus my parents and me.) I still make biscuits the way she does on the rare occasion when I make them, but I always have to start with sifting the flour into some large container to start with.

    Thanks for the lovely memory.

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  5. That brought back a sweet memory from my past too. My Mother In Law made her biscuits the very same way and I always wondered how she knew how much of anything she needed. It was just a habit to her. I loved watching her make them and they were always so so good. Thanks for posting.

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  6. Oh Michelle- my grandma..exactly, except she didn't cut out her biscuits..she rolled them in her hand and used her knuckles to press them in the pan. Memories!

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  7. loved the warmth in this entire post. :)

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  8. Thank you for sweet memories! I love your photos and appreciate the recipe.

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  9. I found your blog when I was googling for a smalltown blog of a friend and I am so glad. What a beautiful blog! Those biscuits look so good too. I will definitely have to give them a go. That will give me an excuse to use my grandma's biscuit cutter. You take beautiful photos too dear.
    Blessings
    Debbie

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  10. Kitchens and cooking are wonderful places for reminiscing...I worked with a woman who always had a 'starter' bowl in the corner of her kitchen counter. She said her starter recipe (pinches and handfuls) had come from her Grandmother.

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  11. I can't remember the last time I had homemade biscuits. How sweet of your grandmother to keep them warm until you awoke. Nice memories. :)

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  12. Hi Michelle, Thanks for the recipe and thanks to your grandmother as well! :-) John

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  13. Yum...these biscuits look soooo good. Sounds like my grandmother's kitchen....Always something cooking on the stove!

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  14. Ahhh, so sweet, love to hear such warm memories......also I love biscuits, yummy, thanks for sharing, Francine.

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  15. yum!! you know i learned something last night on the news - which i had never heard - you should not wash your cast iron skillets with soap? seriously, have you ever heard that?? not me ... just put a bit of water & wash ... that is it. we have several of them ... i love past down items. so fun!! glad to hear you are making some memories. keep going ... . . . .

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    Replies
    1. Beth, the key is to wipe out the cast iron skillet while it is still hot. If you have any bits that stick, you can rinse some water over them and brush them off with a dish washing brush. No soap! It strips the skillet of the oils!

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  16. Sounds wonderful! Memories of our Grandmas are the best! Mine made wonderful rolls every Sunday morning...delicious! Have a wonderful day!!

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  17. I'm lucky if I can get a full meal on the table three times a week!! I didn't realize there were so few ingredients in biscuits!! I guess I have never made them!! You photograph food, beautifully!!

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  18. They look like small scones. Actually they look heavenly.

    I wish that every time I saw my grandmother bake I had written down the ingredients though like yours, I believe she never measured exactly...

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  19. I thought they looked like baby scones too

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  20. ...MMMM nothing better than a hot biscuit! Memories are great, especially if it is of your grandmother or grandfather! :-)

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  21. Thanks for the recipe. I need to try that one. Biscuits sound really good right now.

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  22. Craving Biscuits ~ yes I am !
    And thinking of my grandmothers chicken and dumplings.
    YUM.

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  23. Those are great memories and your biscuits look DEE-vine! I copied the recipe and just printed it up.. I will try them.
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  24. I love biscuits like that and make them myself when I get motivated. We had company from the city and I made them and the guy wouldn't eat them, I guess they didn't taste like tube biscuits. I like the from scratch taste better, they just smell so good.

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  25. oh I loved my Nana's biscuits...and they were even better to sneak one of the stove..and a slice of bacon later on in the day....love hearing other people's grandparent stories...

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  26. Memories are so sweet . . . Your granny would be proud of your biscuits . . . looking very tasty from here!

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  27. You wrote this so well Michelle. You put me right in the kitchen when your grandmother was making her biscuits. I could almost smell them coming out of the oven. Lovely post, enjoyed your photos and I can't wait to try that biscuit recipe.

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  28. That is a great memory, and how nice that you continue the tradition, making new memories! They look so good! I can almost smell them baking.

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  29. I love those types of memories. My biscuits were homemade tortillas.

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  30. Yours turned out beautiful! Loved the story...

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  31. There are few of us who remember pumping water by hand or using an outhouse. We still make our biscuits kiss.

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  32. Feels like eating. They have come out very well...

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  33. oh i love this post soooo much! what special memories...i'm sure she's right there looking over your shoulder with each batch of biscuits you make :) i love the idea of the tin can to cut biscuits too ...so simple

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  34. Grandmas really did know how to bake back then!

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  35. This is so sweet! And they really look delicious. It amazes me how women never used to use recipes. When I ask my grandma how to make something, she never uses measurements and just adds enough ingredients until it's just right.

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  36. In all our snow today, I'm making some corn chowder... and maybe these biscuits. They look mmmmmmmmmmm!

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  37. This time I liked more your words than your pictures... I am sure your grandmother's biscuits were good and her way of doing things and her simple tools reminds me of my maternal grandma. She didn't make cookies, but I remember quite well almost the same moves to make a delicious cake.

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  38. Interesting; we don't put sugar in ours but otherwise very similar. And I have a cleaned out smooth sided can I use for a biscuit cutter!

    Ceci

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  39. I come from a long line of biscuit makers and I'm afraid the line stops here with me. I have never been able to make biscuits like my mother and grandmothers. There's always something different. I still try, but still just don't have that talent. I am going to try your recipe, though. Thanks for sharing.

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  40. What a lovely post and a beautiful memory you have of your Grandma. The biscuits look delicious and perfect comfort food for this snowy and cold winter we've had.

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  41. What a wonderful memory. I saved the recipe. Plan on trying it soon.

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  42. Wow. From North Dakota to Kentucky. That is a long, long path.

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  43. What sweet memories, Michelle! It must have been so wonderful to wake up to your Grandmother's homemade biscuits! Thanks for sharing the recipe - I love biscuits with butter and blackberry jam. xo Karen

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  44. "Sweet Memories" and wonderful comfort food!

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  45. Such wonderful memories of your grandmother and Yum on the biscuits. I may need to bake some for dinner tonight.

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  46. Love this post - the memories, the baking tradition, that flour bowl, the yum biscuits . . . xx

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