sho’ ‘nuff yummy

Make your own Hardee's Biscuits - Recipe

There is an old story about the ten-year old Alabama boy, Junior, who had never spoken a word in his life. Then, one morning at the breakfast table, the lad suddenly blurted out, greatly annoyed, “Mama, you’ve burned these here biscuits!”

His mother and the rest of the family were dumbstruck. After she regained her composure, the mother said, “Praise the lord, Junior – those were the first words you’ve ever spoken; you’ve never said anything before.”

Junior frowned at her and said, “Well, Mama, up ’til now, everything’s been all right!”

(Apologies to brother and sister seniors who’ve heard this joke a million times.)

If a biscuit is done right, it can work miracles. That is why it was such a crying shame when our local Valley Hardee’s suddenly closed a while back, throwing elderly biscuit addicts into confusion and extreme biscuit withdrawal, cold turkey.

To many retired mill-hands — as well as younger gainfully employed folks needing nourishment to start their day — eating an early morning Hardee’s biscuit was an ingrained, basic ritual. There was no advanced warning that this outrage was about to befall us; and there was no follow up counseling for the bereaved, traumatized early-morning biscuit eaters.

For many dismal days, desperate biscuit addicts wandered Highway 29 in the cold,cruel morning light, casting forlorn, pitiful glances at the desolate, abandoned Hardee’s. Only Shakespeare could adequately describe their tragedy.

They were like millionaire Wall Street Bankers who suddenly discovered a hole in their golden parachute. I’m sure the citizens of ancient Troy felt the same sense of heart-breaking loss and anger upon realizing that Helen had flown the coop.

This was a sho’ ‘nuff catastrophe. Biscuits are the foundation bedrock of the Southern experience. It is not healthy for people to suddenly stop taking an opiate as powerful as a Hardee’s biscuit. Who knows what mental derangement will result from such an abrupt biscuit cut-off?

Even worse, it could be biscuits today, what might it be tomorrow? We may be approaching a dangerous tipping point regarding our eating habits. Should other restaurants close, we could be forced to cook our own meals at HOME! This may be a horrifying thought to some, but folks used to cook at home all the time. I swear they did. Some cooks were better than others, but most everybody did it. I’ve scrambled an egg or two, myself.

Believe it not, back in the day, people bought stoves to cook food on, not just to fill that big empty space between the kitchen cabinets. Or because it matched the refrigerator.

Granted, most women don’t have time to cook anymore –- they’re too busy watching cooking shows on television.

The greatest mystery of our age is this: Why is it the more cookbooks that are bought, the less home cooking actually gets done? Chew on that awhile, in lieu of a home-made biscuit. It has not always been like this.

Your granny may not have had stylish thong underwear, tattoos or jewelry in her nose, but she did have biscuits in her oven: fragrant mounds of hand-shaped, cat-head art,filling her kitchen with the beguiling perfume of sustaining granny love and the promise of lip-smacking paradise to come. And they weren’t those hybrid pre-fab biscuits that come in a plastic bag, lumped together like the contents of a loaded diaper; neither were they those polyester biscuits that come in a can like window caulking.

No, Granny made her biscuits up from scratch. They called it “scratch” because if you ever ate one, you were itching for another.

We shouldn’t waste the Lord’s time beseeching Him for rain, you can buy a drink of water anywhere. We should be praying for a good, hot, soul-stirring, scratch biscuit, slathered with sho’ ’nuff, artery-clogging, genuine butter. I’m talking heaven-sent here people.

Hmmm, boy –- yummy! Somebody say “Amen!”

  1. Trevor Stone Irvin

    I’ll agree that the biscuit is the bedrock of southern living — but Hardee’s?

    1. JL Strickland

      Well, yeah, Hardee’s. (Try taking your biscuits with a grain of salt. Works for me.)

  2. Jeffry Scott

    A fine piece Mr. Strickland. You nailed the biscuit as bedrock. And I agree that Hardee’s made fine biscuits. But I’ve also found that trying to make scratch biscuits at home as good as my rural South Carolina grandmother made them, every morning, requires…lard. Nothing else will do. Now, try to find lard at the Kroger. It’s there, but stashed away like a family skeleton; or maybe it should be under lock and key like the condoms and sex lubricants are at CVS, where you have to ask the clerk to open up the case so you can get some condoms and….lard. Then get cooking.

    1. JL Strickland

      Ah, lard: the magical essence of kitchen alchemy, resting, waiting patiently, in a deceptively innocent metal container until a culinary sorcerer — or sorceress– uses a cosmically charged gob of porcine lubricant to grease the skids for another pan of divinely inspired biscuits. Mojo of the gods, for a fact.

      If there were any true justice in this world, the health nannies and nutritional buttinskies would be forced to make a full apology for their criminal and total baseless assaults on that WD-40 of the dough bowl — not to mention the soul– lard.

  3. I may abide in Yankeeland, but my gastronomy belongs to my native Alabama.

    Queen Lutibelle’s Survival Biscuits

    It’s best to begin with the equipment all laid out.

    Then use these ingredients:

    2 cups of all purpose flour

    1 tsp. salt

    2 tsp. baking powder

    ½ tsp baking soda

    stealth: cayanne pepper to taste

    ½ cup lard (or Crisco)

    ¾ cup of buttermilk

    Sift all dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and soda) into a large bowl

    Blend Crisco and the dry ingredients together until it looks grainy, like cornmeal. Add buttermilk and gently fold the mixture into a ball.

    Dust a small amount of extra flour on the granite counter (or other surface).

    Dust the ball with flour.

    Place the pastry ball on the powdered surface.

    Knead gently for a minute or two.

    Roll gently towards outer edges until the pastry is the thickness you want for your biscuits.

    Cut with a pastry cutter (or drinking glass).

    Place on metal cooking sheet.

    Bake in a preheated oven at 425º for 15 minutes.

    Dab one of the biscuits with butter and dribble honey on it. Or better yet, drizzle it with Major Gray’s Mango Chutney

    Then yore tung shall be unstoppéd, and u-l speak from a well of English undefiled.

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