Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: Biscuit stories and glories

Dec. 01, 2012 @ 02:24 PM

Did you know there are people out there who have not eaten a Bojangles’ biscuit? I know, I know. Who could fathom such a thing. What a loss for their taste buds. I was up in Northern Virginia for Thanksgiving, and saw a friend from college. Somehow I brought up Bojangles’ and she said she’d never been there, but she had been to Biscuitville in North Carolina with a relative. Apparently there are two camps of Carolina fast food biscuit fans. Don’t forget Hardee’s, too. In the few months since we talked about biscuits in this column, I wrote a story about Shirley Jones, the biscuit maker at the North Duke Street Hardee’s who has made thousands of biscuits for the breakfasts of weekday morning diners. Talk about a consummate professional.
Alright, enough store-bought biscuit talk. Time to share what a reader from Roxboro shared with me about biscuits. Allen Long grew up in the country, on a farm, where they had some of the best biscuits, he said. His mom didn’t use a recipe; she just knew what to do using self-raising flour and lard.
With today’s cautious carbohydrate counting, we might forget something that Long reminded me – biscuits on the table were a way of filling you up if there weren’t a lot of other items on your plate. Biscuits are also there to sop of the gravy, he said. Is there anything a biscuit can’t do? See, it can even keep you from being wasteful.
Long’s mom passed down her biscuit-making skills. Allen Long makes homemade biscuits as well as yeast buns, hot cakes and coffee bread. He sounds like quite the cook, doesn’t he?
Lately I’ve been multitasking while watching television at night, going through cookbooks and figuring out how my husband and I are going to feed our relatives who are coming down for Christmas. I won’t attempt biscuits – I know from veteran biscuit makers that it’s not a skill you rush. I brought a stack of cookbooks out to the coffee table, and began flipping. My husband has less enthusiasm for reading cookbooks. I like it – I’ve read so many for Food section stories already. I like it more than cooking itself. He said he’ll do the bulk of the cooking if I pick out what we’re going to make. Deal. Well, maybe not for some things. We decided to bring brownies for our contribution to the Thanksgiving table. The first batch, which he did alone, was liquefied in the center. Mind you, this was an instant batch from a box. “How do you mess up brownies?” my sister asked, as she ate one from the second, successful brownie batch.
Not everyone can be an Allen Long in the kitchen. Or a Shirley Jones.

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan may be reached at: dvaughan@heraldsun.com or 919-419-6563.