Southerners are almost as proud of their relationship with food as they are with that slow-moving melodic twang. Like, “Hey Pop, bring me a biscuit and some gravy to soak up my grits.” It’s music to my ears. Really.
I love the relationships and memories that good food creates around dinner tables from here to the Mississippi. In this last post about writers on food, I’d like to dish out a little food for thought on the somewhat new (and already award-winning) magazine Garden & Gun.
Its October issue highlights great southern foods, and makes me want to stuff a buttered biscuit into my mouth every time I see that mouthwatering cover. Food aside (just for a tiny, itty-bitty second) this magazine artfully combines literary excellence with lip smacking, finger licking, lovin’ of life: food.
Here’s that recipe from the issue’s cover. And please make enough to share with this always-hungry writer and sinfully sad cook.
1¼ lb. White Lily all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
¼ lb. shortening
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture with your fingers, two knives, or a pastry blender. The lumps will be very small, but still visible. As soon as you feel the texture of the flour become coarse, stop.
Pour the buttermilk into the dry mixture all at once and combine. Incorporate the buttermilk as quickly and as gently as possible using a folding motion. Adjust the consistency if needed. The dough should be sticky, but manageable.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and work lightly (with the hands, use a folding and patting out motion) until the texture begins to smooth out. Pat the dough out with your hands into a large rectangle (about the size of a baking sheet).
Spread 2/3 of the dough with soft butter. Fold the unbuttered side onto the middle 1/3 of the buttered side, then fold the other outer 1/3 buttered side onto the top of the unbuttered dough. Turn dough ¼ turn and repeat, buttering 2/3 dough and folding. Repeat once more.
Pat out dough to ½-inch thickness. May finish lightly with a few strokes of a rolling pin. Use a 3-inch cutter (keep dipping in flour to keep from sticking to the dough) to punch out biscuits.
Place 6 by 4 on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 14 minutes. Turn once halfway through the baking at 7 minutes. Tops should be a light golden brown when finished. Brush tops with butter.
Muddy Pond Sorghum Butter
½ cup Muddy Pond Sorghum
1 cup soft butter, unsalted
Stir together and eat with lots of warm biscuits! Lather it on thick.