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My daughter recently purchased a new game for the family to play. It’s called ‘Quelf‘ and if you’re not familiar with it, it can be downright silly at times. Each of the pieces in the game is a character. Some of them are quite unusual, There’s ‘Queen Spatula’, “The Dood’, ‘Mrs. PickleFeather’, and ‘The Biscuit Farmer’. I am not a biscuit farmer, but I do enjoy making them almost as much as I enjoy eating them.

Recently, as we were sitting around the table eating (biscuits were on the menu) I was given a very high compliment from my family. Both my wife and my daughter said that they thought my biscuits were better than my mother-in-law’s (She has a great blog too by the way) . That is not a compliment that was given lightly I know. I feel I can’t take any of the credit. All I did really was follow a recipe (That’s all chemistry is really.Just follow a recipe). Many moons ago I was given a cookbook. Cast-Iron Cooking for Dummies. There are many recipes for biscuits but my favorite is the recipe for drop biscuits.A nice simple recipe that only uses six simple ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons vegetable shortening

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup milk

1)  Heat your oven to 450 degrees

2) Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

3) Cut the shortening and butter into dry mixture with a fork or pastry blender until it resembles coarse meal. Add the milk and stir.

4) Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cast-iron pan, griddle, or skillet.

5) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

This recipe yields about 14 biscuits.

Cast_iron_skillet-SPL

That’s it. Pretty simple, but evidently a great recipe.

And since I’m the kind of person that loves trivia, let me share some history of the biscuit that I learned from the cookbook.

“The soft-wheat flours of the South don’t bond well with yeast. To make yeast breads, Southern cooks had to import good bread flour from the North. Folks couldn’t afford to purchase it. Biscuits were born when commercially prepared baking powder and baking soda became readily available to the southern cook. These ingredients could be combined with the South’s soft flour to make biscuits, a yummy substitute for the yeast breads that were common in the North.

When the leavening agents of baking soda and baking powder became available, biscuits became as much a part of Southern meals as cornbread and how cakes had been before that time.”

And now you know. How about you? Do you have any favorite biscuit recipes? What do you like to serve biscuits with? What do you like to put on your biscuits?

drop-biscuits-2 (Image courtesy of CrunchyCreamySweet).

James Kennedy

VCE Chemistry Teacher at Haileybury, Australia

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