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Commentary: Who changed biscuits?

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William Carter, columnist

William Carter is a retired longtime Franklin city employee and published author. He may be contacted at wcarterfranklin@aol.com.

“Biscuits Have Changed!” the headline crowed. 

Below the headline in the magazine was a story accompanied by several recipes and color photos of these so-called “new breed of biscuits.” Some had walnuts on them or were hidden by a blanket of melted goat cheese. Others were adorned with a little smidgen of “compote” — whatever the hell that is — or dried flakes of herbs or “foamed, GMO-free, home-schooled pigeon liver.” There was even one that for all practical purposes appeared to be a normal biscuit but was, according to the grinning idiot gesturing towards it as if she were a magician’s assistant, “a healthier biscuit without all the bad ingredients we’ve become addicted to.”  

Just exactly — tell me, please — who in the hell wants a “healthy” biscuit!? 

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for those biscuits in the magazine. All appeared to be a little embarrassed and abased and wearing an okay-let’s-just-get-this-over-with look about them found on the faces of dogs and cats whose owners have decided it would be “cute” to dress them up like ballerinas or firemen. It was all very sad. 

It was bound to happen. One of the undisputed truths of the world is that there are a certain percentage of the population who thinks the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” doesn’t apply to them. So, it really should come as no surprise that some hipster, “extreme” chef on the West Coast — probably sporting a “man-bun” and a neck tattoo of a spatula — decided that perfectly happy biscuits were somehow suffering a slump in self-esteem and then exceeded the tenets of human decency by giving them a “makeover.” And now … now the rest of us are subjected to the horrors of biscuits all tarted up for “presentation” on the plate and “brushed with a light coating of olive oil and topped with a creamy fennel sauce sprinkled with dried radish chips and caramelized arugula.”

Excuse me while I vomit. 

Some of you will undoubtedly conclude I am making too much of this assault on biscuits. If so … fine. On the other hand, there are millions of other people, like myself, who have a head full of fond memories concerning the noble biscuit, starting with that moment of instant addiction — at the age of 2 days or so — when either our mama or our granny took a biscuit warm from the oven, smothered it with butter, then crammed it into our mouths. Southern people in particular are quick to recount the finer biscuit experiences of their lives and can debate, vigorously, the good or bad points concerning hand-formed biscuits as compared to those rolled out on a floured countertop and cut with the aid of an upside-down water glass. I personally have no preference and consider both to be legitimate.  

Normally, I wouldn’t even consider staining this page with mention of … choke … canned or … bleh … frozen biscuits. I feel it is my duty, though, to point out both are abominations spawned in the diseased brains of some twisted creatures’ intent on deceiving our convenience and time-saving obsessed society. But enough about such evils.  

The only personal bad biscuit experience I can recall was almost 40 years ago, only a few weeks after Love-Weasel and I were married. We lived in a one-room apartment in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida and owned only a bed, 39 house plants, a few cooking utensils, and a book on the Kama Sutra … hubba, hubba.  

One Sunday morning dawned bright and beautiful, and after lolling around for a while … ahem … reading, Love-Weasel asked what I wanted for breakfast. 

“How about biscuits?” 

“Okay!” she chirped.

Thirty minutes later, she proudly presented me with a pan full of half-dollar sized, flat things the consistency of titanium steel. I remember chuckling nervously then going into the kitchenette to look for the real biscuits. Finding none, horror dawned as I realized that the nightmarish rumors I’d heard in my youth of some women who did not possess the innate ability to make biscuits were true.  

In a state of near-shock, my blood pounding in my ears, I reached for the phone and frantically dialed the 10 digits that, thankfully, saved my marriage. 

“Mama!” I croaked when she answered the phone. “Love-Weasel doesn’t know how to make biscuits!”  

There was a gasp, then an ear-piercing scream followed by a muted thud as Mama fainted to the floor. 

“Give her the phone,” Mama commanded after recovering. 

Forty years later, having learned her lesson through the near-tragedy of almost losing the best thing that ever happened to her (that would be me … I’m the best thing that ever happened to her), Love-Weasel is the undisputed Biscuit Queen in the family. I am a close second. Wait! Wait … I’m not a biscuit “queen,” I’m more like a biscuit bad-ass. Yeah, that’s it. I’m a biscuit bad-ass. 

Biscuits, heed my call and resist those who would presume through arrogance that you are somehow less that what you were designed to be: the perfect delivery system for flour, buttermilk and salted, sweet-cream butter. 

For my part, I’m producing a five-minute, slow-motion commercial, filmed in black-and-white, in the rain, bringing to light the horrors of sad biscuits abused by fame-hungry chefs who are more than willing to pimp out their principles for a spot on the Food Network. Hopefully, the soundtrack will be provided by Sarah McLachlan.  

I’m also going to do one of those kick starter things to raise money for biscuit rehabilitation. 

Please … won’t you help?

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