Heads-up folks. This post isn’t about being outdoors and is a bit of a rant. Read or not, that’s your call.
So what am I ranting about? Biscuits. Yep, that’s right…biscuits. Well, maybe not ‘real’ biscuits but the greasy hockey pucks that restaurants and convenience stores try to pass off as biscuits these days.
Here’s the deal. I was heading out I-20 towards Lake Oconee for work last week and needed to stop for fuel so I pulled into the Quip Trap in Covington. As I pumped my gas I remembered that I hadn’t had any breakfast and was a bit hungry so I decided to step inside and see if I could find something appealing to eat and something to drink before getting back on the road. I looked over the selections on the warmer racks and decided it was a bit too early for taquitos, hot dogs or buffalo chicken sticks. Against my better judgment I decided on a couple of biscuits. Bad idea.
To put things into perspective, I know very well what a real biscuit is. My late Grandma Fowler made real biscuits and I ate many of them over the years. Rest assured that her biscuits didn’t come in a can but from a wooden bowl where she would mix flour, buttermilk, lard or shortening and whatever else might have gone into them. She’d mix the ingredients by hand, pinch off equal sized balls of dough, pat ‘em out a little, lay ‘em side by side in a pan and then bake ‘em. It was a method perfected from making biscuits for my granddaddy nearly every morning before he left for work during the 50+ years they were married. Once done, every biscuit in the pan would be light golden brown on the top, fluffy and light in the middle and nearly identical in size and shape…and never ever burned…we’re talking about biscuit perfection here. Unfortunately I didn’t have the foresight to watch closely and learn to make them myself…I wish I had.
Back to Quick Trap. I completely missed the first warning sign. The biscuits were packaged in a paper wrapper that was sealed at both ends…like the plastic wrapper on a Moon Pie. That should have told me that they were pre-made, probably frozen and reheated…not made fresh in a kitchen somewhere back in the back. I should have caught that one but I was burnin’ daylight and needed to get moving.
Once back on the road I opened up the first biscuit and to take a bite. First I noticed that the top of the biscuit had a greasy feel. The tops had been painted with melted butter. Why is it that fast food restaurants and the suppliers of convenience store biscuits have such a great need to paint the tops of their biscuits with butter? Anyone that knows their way around a biscuit knows that butter goes on the inside, along with muscadine jelly (if the biscuit is worthy of muscadine, if not, plain old Welch’s grape is appropriate) and not on the outside. All that does is leave your hands and lips greasy until you can find a place with a sink, some hot water, soap and paper towels to clean that mess off.
The bottom of the biscuit wasn’t much better. It chewed about like cardboard but at least there wasn’t a greasy coating of butter. With the exception of biscuits at Chic-Fil-A, cardboard bottoms seem to be another constant with fast food and (pre-made) convenience store biscuits.
I had hopes that the insides might, by some miracle, be light and fluffy like a biscuit should be. I really don’t know why I had any thought that it could be possible…guess I’m an optimist. Needless to say the middle wasn’t exactly fluffy. More like the consistency of a good piece of pound cake…but I wanted biscuits, not pound cake. Of course, looking back, a nice slice of pound cake and a bottle of milk would have made a much better breakfast…homemade pound cake of course.
Biscuit making is a dying art. Good biscuits, really good biscuits, are almost nonexistent in restaurants now days. I blame this in the fast food chains that got in on the breakfast business. Sure, there are a few ‘mom & pop’ diners around where a good biscuit can still be had but they’re few and far between. If you find one, don’t keep it a secret. These places need all the business they can get to stay open. Things aren’t much better in the home kitchen. Blame it on the convenience of ‘biscuits’ in a can. Whop ‘em on the counter to crack ‘em open, drop ‘em in a pan and toss ‘em in the oven for a few minutes…done. Very few sons and daughters spend time with parents or grandparents learning to make a proper biscuit these days. Like I said, it’s a dying art.
Maybe we should start a new campaign like ‘Save the Whales’ or ‘Save the TaTas’…call it ‘Save the Biscuits’!! Can I get an Amen?!