Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Charleston Cuisine: Buttermilk Biscuits

"Buttermilk biscuits have always been the staple breakfast bread of the South," Louis Osteen reminisces in his Charleston Cuisine. "I remember my grandmother, up early on her farm, gently kneading the lard into the flour. . ."

Biscuits have recently become the staple breakfast bread of a household in Northern California. I will always remember my daughter, up early in her suburban home, gently kneading lard substitutes into flour. . . 
Isabel's biscuit-making began this summer with the 1-2-3 biscuits (fat: vegetable oil) out of Best of the Best from Alaska, which we loved. Then she moved on to the cream biscuits (fat: butter) from Alice Waters' Art of Simple Food, which we loved even more. I would describe Waters' cream biscuits as possibly too delicious.

Today Isabel baked Osteen's buttermilk biscuits (fat: butter; what happened to granny's lard?) which were tall and fluffy and tasty, though probably not too delicious. I consider this a point in their favor.  


  1. and what, exactly do you put on those biscuits? jelly? jam? cream gravy with country ham bits?
    inquiring minds want to know?

  2. We're jam people. Isabel also likes biscuits plain. She'll eat them plain and cold and doughy, a day or two out of the oven.
    Do you recommend cream gravy, Anonymous 11:51? Do you have a recipe? I've always been a little scared by biscuits & gravy. But intrigued.

  3. Those biscuits look really good. I would like to train my oldest child to make biscuits. Did you have to send Isabel to biscuit camp? If you figure out a good gravy to go with the biscuits, I'd like to know about it. That seems like something that would be in Kenny Shopsin's hysterical new cookbook, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

  4. My husband likes biscuits and gravy, but it's a pretty rare indulgence, for obvious reasons. And I am jealous of those biscuits--they look sublime.