What am I “Thankful” for?
This time of year, I always get a little soft inside.
I am a gal of Tradition. I hang onto them for
dear life, ’cause I know they are the soul of
I was asked to participate in the
Thankful for Home Tour.
The first thing that came to mind was biscuits.
Or rather, Ham Biscuits.
Southern Buttermilk Biscuits with
Glazed Bourbon-Brown Sugar Country Ham….
to be exact.
I know, I know.
I heard you crinkling your forehead in confusion.
Well. You all know how proud I am of my Southern roots.
Biscuits are to Southerners as Beer is to Irishmen.
We eat them for every meal and in between as snack.
Slathered with Jelly.
Smothered in Molasses.
Drowning in Gravy.
– and best of all…
Stuffed with Ham.
In our family, it’s not really the Holidays unless someone
makes Ham Biscuits. You can have the turkey and dressing and
mashed ‘taters and all the fixin’s, but if you don’t have the ham
biscuits – you’ve broken Family Tradition.
So – why are biscuits a blessing and something to be thankful for?
Growing up on a large farm, my sweet Mama cooked
a lot – as most Farmer’s Wives do.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner were always big affairs
seven days of the week.
Mama made a pan of biscuits at least twice a day.
Usually once for breakfast, and again for supper.
(It is super important that all dry ingredients be sifted for a lighter, fluffier biscuit)
I remember learning to cook when I had to stand on
a wood crate next to the stove. My favorite memories
are of me doing homework at the farm table, and my Mama
in the kitchen cooking – asking me how my day was, helping
me with my Math (which to this day I hate!)…and all the
while – I think I was absorbing her love of cooking just by
being in the same room with her.
(Dry ingredients will look very powdery after sifting)
The first thing I remember Mama teaching me was a cake.
I remember measuring out the ingredients and helping her
break the eggs. She never complained when she had to fish
out a few eggshells for me. ‘Cause that’s what Mama’s do.
We made a Chocolate Mayonaise Cake with
Homemade Icing. I still make that recipe, exactly as we
did the first time years ago.
(Don’t overwork the dough, mix by hand until it forms a ball)
As I got older, there was one thing I wanted to make the most…
and Mama would always say “I’ll teach you one day.”
I had watched her make pan after pan after pan.
I had even graduated to Master Egg Cracker when baking
cakes. “Look Ma’ – no shells!”
So – the “experienced” cook I had become assumed I could master biscuits.
Make no mistake – you ain’t no Southern cook until you have
mastered the perfect Buttermilk Biscuit.
(start with a floured surface to roll out your dough, and also rub the pin with flour, too. Roll between
1/2″-3/4″ depending on how “thick” you want your biscuits)
At the ripe age of 10, my Mama either thought I had
enough experience with cooking to understand the art of
biscuit making, or she was just plain tired of hearing me
nag her about it.
(I’m thinking the latter!)
To my fully experienced mind, just how hard could it be?
Some flour, some baking powder and soda and salt, some
shortening and buttermilk. Mix, roll, cut, bake.
(Use a biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits, and brush on melted butter.)
Well… little did I understand the magic behind the process.
I didn’t understand that it takes years of experience to get the feel
of the dough, to know that sifting the dry ingredients is key….
and that the ultimate secret to a good biscuit is a well-seasoned
I see on Pinterest things like
“How to Get Your Cookie Sheets to Look Like New” and I
always cringe and say “Whhhhyyyyyyy?”
A seasoned baking sheet is like a seasoned cast iron skillet.
(Mix 1/3 cup brown sugar with enough Bourbon to create a glaze. Add a teaspoon of mustard, stir well.
Brush generously all over country ham steaks.)
My first batch of biscuits turned out pretty darned good.
I thought for sure it was a testament to my Mama’s teachings
and surely – my inherited cooking ability, as well.
What my naive self did not grasp was that my dear Mama was
standing right next to me the whole time…
“No, no don’t add that yet.”
“Gentle on the dough, don’t overwork it.”
“Place the biscuits closer together on the sheet.”
Maternal instructions that were lovingly offered, and gave me
the confidence that I knew what I was doing.
(Bake ham in a 450 degree oven for about 15-20 mins until edges are slightly crispy)
Several months later, as Thanksgiving was drawing near –
one of the biggest biscuit-eating days of the year –
I begged my Mama to let me fix the biscuits.
This was an honored duty. My sister who was 5 years
older than I had never fixed the Thanksgiving biscuits,
and I was determined to be the youngest in the family
to be given the title of Biscuit-Making Darling.
(Bake biscuits in 450 degree oven about 10-13 mins)
In our family, we make two different batches of biscuits.
Thinner biscuits, as seen above, to be filled with Country Ham.
You want a thinner biscuit so you get the perfect bite
of bread and meat.
Then, there were the beautifully risen biscuits which were
fuller and fluffier, and used for sopping molasses and
eating with giblet gravy.
My poor Mama, once again pestered plumb to death –
agreed to let me bake the biscuits.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving dinner, and I proudly placed a
large basket of biscuits on the table. I was giddy.
I was ready to receive my accolades and see the look
of utter satisfaction on everyone’s face. I was ready to take
my place in the Southern Biscuit-Makers Hall of Fame.
I sat there, watching as everyone started eating…I could
not eat a single bite I was so excited.
My Daddy’s face gave me the first indication that all was not well.
Then, a quick look at my Grandmother …then at my Aunt.
Oh, Lordy. I could see my Hall of Fame dreams fading fast.
“Who made the biscuits, Mama? These ain’t yours.” my brother asked.
“Barbie made them,” she replied.
(yes, I am known as Barbie in my family)
“Well,” he started with a smug look…”that explains why
they taste -“
“…so good!” my Daddy spoke up. “Good job, baby.
The biscuits are fine. Can you pass the gravy?”
And all was well with life.
My Daddy liked my biscuits. It was even better than the
Biscuit Making Hall of Fame.
So you see – when I think of biscuits – I do indeed think of all
I have been blessed with throughout my life.
I am blessed I was raised on a farm.
I am blessed to be part of a large Southern family.
I am blessed that I was born to an amazing line of women who
can cook like no other.
I am blessed that biscuits made a man fall madly in love with me.
I am blessed to have childhood memories and traditions that
today are alive and well.
I am THANKFUL that my biscuits today are edible.
Thank you for letting me share my “Thankful” story
with you. Here is the recipe we have used for
generations. Please don’t tell my Mama I
shared this with you.
- 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 Cup Shortening or Lard
- 3/4 Cup Cold Buttermilk
- Melted Butter
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients in a sifter. Sift ingredients together. *(don't skip this step) Make a small "well" in the dry ingredients, and add lard or shortening. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to work in the shortening into the dry ingredients.
- Add the buttermilk. This is where you need to dig in with your hands. You want a dough that does not stick to the sides of the bowl - not too stiff but not too sticky, either. Try to handle the dough as little as possible.
- Place dough ball on a slightly floured surface. Lightly kneed dough about 4-6 times with the heel of your hand. If you overwork the dough, the biscuits will be tough. Roll the dough out about 1/2"-3/4" thick. A thinner dough will produce a crispier biscuit, and a thicker dough will produce a fluffier biscuit.
- Use a biscuit cutter to cut out dough, or roll them by hand and pat them out on the tray. Keep rolling the bits and pieces of the dough until all dough is used. Place the cut or rolled biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet. If you want biscuits with soft sides, place them close together. If you want crispy sides, place them about 1" apart. Brush the tops with melted butter.
- Bake on the middle rack for about 10-13 minutes, or until browned on top. Remove from oven, and brush with more melted butter while still hot. Serve immediately.
- *you can use this basic recipe to make Cheese Biscuits. I also add sugar and cinnamon to make a sweet biscuit which is great for Strawberry "Shortcake."
Please visit all of the blogs who have
participated in the
“Thankful for Home” Tour –
Savvy Southern Style
Lilacs & Longhorns
The Inspired Room
The Crafty Woman
What Meegan Makes
Maison de Pax
Confessions of a Plate Addict
My Soulful Home
Cedar Hill Farmhouse
The Lilypad Cottage
A Little Claireification
Fresh Idea Studio
The Rustic Pig
Country Design Style
The Everyday Home
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Giveaway runs from Nov 4th thru Nov 1oth at 5pm.
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Monday, Nov 12th.
Good luck everyone!
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