Biscuits, like bread and dumplings, is a staple food popular within an assortment pot of diverse cultures that all put their spin on the doughy indulgence. Southern style biscuits were popularized through a melting pot of many different cultural influences to the point where you can enjoy them from the delicious bona fide Southern style menutoday at Texas Chicken & Burger. Here’s a guide to some of the fascinating history of the Southern Style Biscuit.
Original Biscuit History
The original biscuit was a flat cake that was placed in the oven after being taken out of the tin. The word Biscuit originates from the French “bis” (‘twice’) “cuit” (‘cooked’.) This extremely dry and hard food was a staple for soldiers and sailors, due to it’s inherent preservility. During the time of the French King Louis XIV, biscuits eaten by soldiers was known as ‘stone bread’, and soldier’s biscuits in the British army were known as ‘hardtack.’ These were essentially portable crackers with very long shelf lives. Later, ‘animalized’ biscuits were made with meat juices. Additionally Travelers Biscuits were made to keep for long periods of time when wrapped in tin foil.
Southern Biscuits as Staple Food
Biscuits have been a staple of the Southern table since the middle of the 1700s. This classic bread is made in tons of ways, including the very hard to create beaten biscuit (made by beating air into the dough with a rolling pin or mallet with 100 strokes,) the buttermilk biscuit, and the drop biscuit. In 1875, an African American grocery store owner named Alexander P. Ashbourne created a biscuit cutter. This spring loaded device was made of a board to load and drop off biscuits and a many-shaped metallic plate. The plate could cut the dough into custom shapes. Ashbourne went on to patent other inventions that were used to prepare, treat, and refine coconut oil to usein home kitchens. The original Southern buttermilk biscuit was the size of a cat’s head, and was made by pinching off portions of dough, rolling it into a ball, and placed in a small iron skillet. This delicious and comforting food has remained as a staple of the Classic Southern meal up to this day - and we’re proud to cook them up for loyal customers at Texas Chicken & Burger!