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Column: Buttering up guests with fresh biscuits
Ronda Rich
Ronda Rich

In our family, no food is held in higher esteem than the biscuit. 

Cornbread runs a close second, but there’s an art to making a biscuit that the easy-going, no-frills cornbread does not require.

As you can imagine, when we eat out, we have high expectations of the biscuit — though, I will tell you, that McDonald’s has figured out a biscuit that has crispy edges and is just the right size.

Waffle House, which doesn’t have an oven in any of its 2,000-plus restaurants, delivers a delicious biscuit, especially when covered in its yummy sausage gravy. 

My dear friend Walt Ehmer is president of Waffle House and he told me years ago, when they introduced biscuits, “We weren’t going to do them until we could do them right.”

They bring in pre-baked biscuits then they grill them hot, with butter. Oh. My. Yes, they figured it out.

As any biscuit maker knows, there are all kinds of biscuits. Big, fluffy biscuits; ones that are flatter and crispier; tiny biscuits.

A couple of years ago, Tink and I were having a rare supper party. I had planned salad, lasagna and homemade lemon pie. An old friend and his brother stopped by a couple of hours before dinner. We were delighted to see them, talking of years past and all the people we’ve known. The conversation edged into the time when our company arrived. In the South, we never turn anyone away. So, I thought frantically.

“We have company coming for lasagna. Would you like to stay? We’d be delighted.”

The brothers looked at each other, shrugging, “We’d love to.”

I panicked. I had prepared dinner for six. How did I expand? Southern women are resourceful.

I had never done it before but I decided to make tiny, cheese biscuits as appetizers. It was a new trick, born out of desperation. When you live in the country, you figure out what to do because you often can’t run to the grocery store. You work with what you have. I always have flour, buttermilk and cheese.

The result was stupendous. One brother, a former NCAA basketball coach, sat at the island as I shaped the tiny biscuits, eating them one after another as they came out of the oven.

“These may be the best appetizer I’ve ever tasted,” he chewed and savored with quiet joy.

Thank goodness. Nervously, I hoped the scrumptious bites would fill their bellies so as to stretch the lasagna to two more people. And it did. With remainders.

Biscuit places pop up all the time. Several months ago, we had someone take over a defunct restaurant. We were all excited and soon talk made its way across town about how delicious the biscuits were. 

It is painful that most young, married women are clueless how to make a biscuit so the market is wide and broad, especially for men looking for their Mama’s biscuits.

This new place is called Biscuit Barn, Biscuit Place, or some such. My brother-in-law, Rodney, knows a good biscuit. His Grandmama, his mama and my sister have plied him with plenty of delicious biscuits. He’s an expert.

So, naturally, he stopped at the new biscuit place. He waited 20 minutes to order — not because the line was long or the staff was too slow. When finally they took his order, he remarked, “I’ve been waiting 20 minutes.” (He was kind. I know Rodney.)

The girl, covered in tattoos and wearing a nose ring, looked bored. She replied, “Do you know how many biscuit places there are between here and the next town?”

Obviously, she’s not the one who faces the banker each month, who worries over paying the bills or utilities.

If you run into a problem finding a good biscuit, you’re welcome to the Rondarosa, where our biscuits have become so famous that a food company has asked to duplicate them.

We won’t send you on down the road.

Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of several books, including “What Southern Women Know About Faith.” Sign up for her newsletter at Her column publishes weekly.