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.