K. D. McCrite

K.D. McCrite grew up on an Ozark Mountain farm along an old dirt road, just like April Grace Reilly in In Front of God and Everybody. She loves writing stories that make people laugh and think. For a while, she worked as a librarian, but these days she sits at her desk and makes up stories. Her second book to this series, Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks, released in December 2011. The third book in the series will be released in the fall of 2012. Visit her at http://kdmccrite.com/

K. D. McCrite


If you grew up in the country, like I did, and if you had a country-food-cooking mom like mine, you ate a lot of biscuits. Maybe you still do. Lucky you!

My mom made biscuits from scratch, with sausage gravy, bacon or sausage, and eggs, every Saturday morning and sometimes on Sunday mornings, too. Her biscuits rose high as they baked, brown and crusty on the outside, soft as down on the inside. A pat of butter melted into the flakiness, then adding some blackberry jelly, strawberry jam, molasses, or honey, and . . . well, I must stop. I’m making myself hungry.

When I first married, my husband told me he was used to having biscuits and gravy every morning and would like for me to keep that custom alive in our home. I told him I’d try, but you see, my mom, as loving, generous, and kindhearted as she was, never taught me to cook or bake while I was growing up. She was a busy farm wife, plus she worked forty hours a week in town. Not only that, we attended church every time the doors were open, and Mama was an active member of our congregation. So teaching me to cook simply got overlooked. My poor husband. He was my kitchen guinea pig for quite a while.

I tried to make those biscuits like he asked. Hockey pucks could not be any firmer, flatter, or darker than my first homemade biscuits. I tried to learn from my new mother-in-law, but her biscuits were odd to me, made from self-rising flour, old grease drippings, and a bit of milk. Or worse, she just used the canned variety you find in the store. I still cringe when I think of her biscuits.

The next time we visited my folks, I held a pen and paper and stood next to my mom while she made a batch of her biscuits. It was actually quite easy, once I got the hang of it. Here is what she told me to do:

• Measure flour into a bowl (I’ve found you can make about four biscuits to every cup of flour)
• Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt for every cup of flour and 1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder for every cup
• Sift these together or mix them with a whisk.
• Add about 1/3 cup of Crisco shortening ( Mama said it must be Crisco or the biscuits won’t taste as good) for every cup of flour. Cut this into the flour mixture well.
• Add milk, a few splashes at a time until your dough is sticky, but not firm. Do not stir it very much, just until everything is moistened.

• Turn out the dough onto a floured board or countertop. (I put mine onto a floured piece of waxed paper, then clean-up is a lot quicker and easier.)
• Knead a few turns gently. Do not overwork the dough by kneading it a lot. The more you work it, the tougher and denser your biscuits will be.
• Roll out the dough (I just pat it out until it’s about ½ inch high) then cut out with a biscuit cutter and bake at 425 for about 10 to 12 minutes. If they don’t rise as high as you’d like, you probably rolled the dough too flat. If they’re really tall and a little doughy inside, roll the dough out a bit more next time.

My mom’s biscuits were well-known in our community. Guess what? My biscuits are now well-known in my own community. It takes a little practice, just like everything else in life. But having a great teacher to learn from and persevering in your own efforts brings sweet rewards, especially when you top it all off with a little honey.


Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks