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The world’s slowest blogger and quintessential non-baker took home 1st Place last week in the 1st Annual “Best Southern Biscuit®” Contest at the 2nd Annual Midstate Mills Biscuit Day over in Newton, NC! Come along and experience the day, the WHOLE day… in this Culinary Adventurist’s “Southern Biscuit Day” journey. This is a story about biscuits, yet so much more… living a delicious life with obsessed old foodie friends… sharing food, fellowship and culinary history with new ones… making new culinary memories with all those folks… and being blessed enough to live another day to tell about it to folks like you here reading this tale. Fix yourself a jar of sweet tea and come on along…
My friend Jody Currin of Mrs. Picky’s Biskits and Marmalades (and 3rd place winner of this year’s International Biscuit Festival) and I never miss a beat when we set out on our next adventure… and we weren’t about to disturb that trend on this trek…we meet the most interesting folk along our way at the backroads junktique and antique stores we swerve into! And we see some of the dangdest things… I just have to share this quick sighting here before moving on to biscuits… because in all my galavanting, NEVER have I seen a drive-up window at a hoochie coochie lingerie establishment, until now… and even though it was dark-thirty when we left our hotel and headed to Biscuit Day (just 9 miles away because we were both so giddy and ‘cited to go there and because Jody beds down at 8pm and is up by 4am!), I insisted Jody stop the truck so as to photograph this unusual phenomenon! Turns out the fellow at the hotel desk was intrigued as well to see the installation of a drive up window when they all knew there at the hotel what kind of store was soon to open… so in Hickory, NC, one can peruse the online store of this here place, order… and just drive up…never needing to grace the inside of said store!
Now don’t that just beat all??? And here’s proof… Hoochie Coochie Drive Thru Window!
So…on to BISCUITS!
Downtown Newton, NC was all aflutter as folks from Midstate Mills were busy sharing their biscuits with town folk and others like us who made the pilgrimage… to b.i.s.c.u.i.t.s. ~ Lotsa Midstate Mills biscuits… these filled with Neese’s Country Sausage! About 1600 biscuits were devoured and on hand to fill them were folks from Neese’s… and that cute and bubbly Andrea Neese you see in their TV commercials… and also a sister Home Economist!
as Midstate Mills Baking Expert Belinda Ellis started talking about all the entries and announced 3rd, then 2nd place winners, she started hinting around at the winning recipe… said that at first glance of the recipe and ingredients, she thought them to be rather odd… and quite frankly, didn’t look very appealing. BUT, having made them and other recipe entries for her panel of chefs and foodies to try, my “OINKERS” quickly disappeared and they asked her to make MORE! When she started saying that this recipe included chopped barbecue, slaw and Eastern NC vinegar-based BBQ sauce in their Southern Biscuit Formula L mix,
I turned to Jody (professional biscuit maker!) and said something to the effect of… “OMG, that’s MY recipe!” Having a reputation for being THE non-baker amongst my cheffy friends, not only did this increase my giddyness level, I just HAD to snicker a little… what better poster child for the product and how easy it is to create with it than with little old ME throw’n together creative (and winning) biscuit concoctions??
In addition to being totally surprised by this accolade, I met the greatest folks in Newton… Midstate Mills is now welcoming its 4th generation into this family business… and from the founder’s granddaughter Cindy Gabriel
to other folks like John Craig, who produces the International Biscuit Festival in Nashville, TN, the people were just the “butter on the biscuit!” I also had a fun chat with Tim and Jan
about their Southern Fresh Show on the RFD-TV Network… a culinary and gardening show filmed entirely here in North Carolina! Their show airs on Mondays at 4:30EST, so tune in…
Biscuit makers are a friendly lot and hearing the stories shared at MM’s 2nd Annual Biscuit Day by well-seasoned ladies and gents there was very humbling and I felt like I should relinquish the win to those more experienced than me-self… their Biscuit Tales need to be preserved as does the art of biscuit making!
As the festival concluded we enjoyed lunch across the street at Callahan’s Cafe where I satisfied my cheeseburger craving and Jody (and I) enjoyed the house special “Chicken Pie.” We then strolled a block away where a few of us were treated to a tour of the lab, testing kitchen and mill by yet another sibling… where I was outfitted with my “Tour de Couture” loverly paper shoes (since this flip-flop wear’n gal didn’t have any “closed toe touring shoes” in her bag)!
As our day ended and we headed back eastward and home, our journey couldn’t simply end there… and somewhere ‘tween Greensboro and Liberty, sumthin’ happened to Jody’s truck… smoke was fly’n out the tail end like an oven full of burnt biscuits…so as we’re so good at doing, swerved OFF the highway onto a side road, jumped out of the truck and scurried up the hill (till we heard a fierce barking dog). Possible Exploding Truck Fire?… or dog bite in the rumpus… tough decision! We thought for sure the truck was on fire… and at this writing I’m not sure what it ’twas… but we met the kindest locals on the side of that road in the THREE HOURS we spent there… SO typical of fellow North Carolinians… and this story just wouldn’t be complete without thanking these strangers…
First, Highway Patrol Officer Pike, whose family owns the farm up the road where the annual Liberty Antique Sales are held… and who hung with us (and our diesel splattering there to the left) until he had to tear off and chase a drunk driver somebody was tailing down that road… and who also managed to move the truck out of the middle of the road (since after we jumped out and made our get-away, it wouldn’t crank again)…. then, this fellow in the bright green shirt who works for the Town of Liberty, (name unknown) whose daughter came by right after our “incident” happened and sent him to help us… and some time (a lotta time) later… Mr. Tow Truck Driver there with me… a most welcomed sight, second only to Jody’s hubby Mike arriving from an hour and a half away in Erwin to take us Biscuit Queens homeward bound! And never one far away from cookbooks… Jody managed to snap a shot of me…during our ‘detour’ home… “ditchside,” reviewing cookbooks for the “Carolina Cooking” features section for the beautimous Our State Magazine where I do food styling and recipe development… with hundreds of books to review to make just the right selections this gal NEVER leaves home with out a sack o’ cookbooks! ‘Cause I was a Girl Scout…always prepared!!
Reflections… Winning this contest is such an honor I will forever cherish and is a ‘culinary feather in my cap’ I feel so blessed to have… but with such a wondermous product as Midstate Mill’s Biscuit Mix (just one of their many great goodies), anybody, and I mean ANYbody can make biscuits… fast as you can open a can and bang it on the counter before your oven is pre-heated! Go get yourself some today and see what fun biscuits you can stir up… and while you’re at it, find a kiddo and let them help!
This product is PERFECT for getting little ones involved in the kitchen… and it’s high time we all do that…
teach a child to cook and show them what REAL food is all about!
Now, go make some biscuits y’all Printable recipe right here…
OINKERS Biscuits Recipe… a little south in YOUR mouth Barbecue Sandwich Biscuit Bites with BBQ Gravy Dip (1)
|February 21, 2013||Posted by Wendy Perry under appetizers, contest creations, cook & eat nekkid, cook'n with NC goodies, feastivals & festivals, here piggy piggy!, nekkid-throw cooking ~ what is THAT?, wendy's signature recipes|
In honor of it being National Biscuits & Gravy Day, we are revisiting this post from a ways back. Now this isn’t your usual biscuits and gravy recipe… but I’m not your usual recipe developer, so keep reading. Back in summer of 2011, this recipe won 1st place in the first ever Midstate Mills Best Southern Biscuit Recipe Contest! Quite an accomplishment for this self-proclaimed NON-baker gal. From what I heard, there were some questionable looks on faces of the judges when they were handed this recipe on paper. (I understand.) However, once they saw and tasted the “Oinkers,” they wanted MORE.
As a Throw Cooker (Throw Cooking Nekkid Food!), this is perfect example of how I often cook and try to encourage others to cook. I just opened my fridge and had these ingredients, threw some together and “OINKERS” were born. You can use pre=made pork barbecue and slaw from your favorite place, or your own. Just yesterday, I threw a Boston Butt in the crock pot (<5 minutes prep) with some Eastern NC BBQ Sauce and let ‘er rip. I chopped up a little cabbage with some water in the blender (about 5 minutes to make) and drained… threw into bowl with a bit of salt, pepper and sugar… whirled in some mayo (only DUKE’s here) and chilled. So this weekend, when I’m tired of Barbecue Sandwiches, I will use these leftovers to make “Oinkers!” I hope you’ll make some and come back to let me know what you think.
(feel free to publish and share with credit please)
Recipe By: Wendy Perry
Yield: About 4 dozen snack-size biscuits.
For the whole Biscuit Day story…jump here and travel back to that day with me. I love a good festival and what’s not to love about BISCUITS?
What to throw together...
- 2 cups NC’s Midstate Mills Southern Biscuit® Formula L Biscuit Mix
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup vinegar based BBQ Sauce (eastern NC Style-I use George's original)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- few dashes black pepper
- few shakes hot sauce (NC’s Texas Pete preferred)
- 1 1/4 cups firmly packed eastern NC barbecue, snipped with scissors if in big pieces
- 2/3 cups chopped slaw (yours or purchased)
- 1 bottle of your favorite vinegar based BBQ Sauce (I use combination of George's Original and Special Sauces)
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar (if using a BBQ sauce that has no sweetener) OR
- use one of our Western Style NC BBQ Sauces for your dip!
How to throw together...
- Preheat oven to 425. Place cast iron skillet into oven to preheat.
- In mixing bowl, combine all biscuit ingredients. Gently fold mixture until blended. Drop by heaping teaspoon size mounds onto hot greased cast-iron skillet. Mounds should be near, but not touching each other. Quickly place skillet back into oven. Bake about 9 minutes until tops are lightly browned.
- Pour 1 bottle of your favorite vinegar based BBQ sauce into heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce to rolling simmer and continue cooking until reduced into thick sauce. Or, use your own recipe and reduce as well. If you use a sauce with little to no sweetener in the ingredients, add about 1 tablespoon per bottle (or per 1-2 cups of sauce) of any one of the following:
- Brown sugar
These are great for tailgate parties and picnics. You'll find these to be kid-friendly too and are a fun recipe to get them involved in making. Perfect for freezing (after cooked), keep on hand for a quick heat-up when friends drop by... a perfect pairing for cold beer on the patio as well.
©Wendy L. Perry, Inc. (feel free to publish and share with credit please
|July 1, 2020||Posted by Wendy Perry under appetizers, baking (she said in terror), breads, Mimi's Mountain Mixes, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge|
Pair North Carolina’s Mimi’s Mountain Mixes Beer Bread with Carolina Gold Oil’s Mediterranean Dipping Oil for an easy fun nibble. Great addition to your charcuterie boards too! I gave a little twist and used orange beer…. realllll good! keep reading
|October 7, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under appetizers, cornbread & hushpuppies, country ham, fun food, House Autry, molasses, party foods, published, stick foods, wendy's signature recipes|
Ham biscuits and corn dogs … now there are a couple of fair favorites … along with those hot and crispy hushpuppies in the education building. I’ve combined this threesome into one fun food you’ll be sure to enjoy. keep reading
|June 29, 2017||Posted by Wendy Perry under baking (she said in terror), blueberries, cook'n with NC goodies, grill thrills, pie please, skillet cookery, sweet treats, wendy's signature recipes|
So which is it…. Grunt? or Slump? You might have seen these descriptions for fruity desserts and wondered…what the heck? Well you will be happy to know that grunts and slumps are one in the same! Now don’t confuse them with cobblers, crumbles and crisps, buckles, brown bettys, pandowdy or the regionally almost-famous North Carolina Sonker! Are you fully befuddled now?
Each one of these baked goods are delicious in their own way, but are not the same… and traditionally include fruit, flour, sugar and butter. What can be wrong about any such thing? So, let’s have a quick lesson to un-confuse ya.
Let’s start out with the grunt, aka slump, since this post’s recipe is just that! Featured in June’s Carolina Country Magazine, you will find my Campfire Fruit Grunt recipe down below you can easily print out and make for your crowd this July 4th!
Originally an English steamed fruit dessert, a grunt/slump is basically a cobbler, but cooked covered on a campfire or grill… or stovetop, rather than inside the oven. This kinda sorta steams the topping (typically a biscuit type dough)… and when it cooks, it makes a “grunting” noise around the edge and topping… thus, the name “grunt.” And once done, it “slumps” down into the skillet…. voila, “Slump!” I’m particularly fond of crispy crunchy things, so you will find the topping on my grunt/slump recipe below to have a bit of those features rather than a softer biscuit dough as you will find with traditional recipes.
Cobbler… the name comes from the “cobblestone” appearance of the baked topping of a cobbler. Traditional cobblers are cooked casserole style and topped with biscuit dough and once cooked resemble cobblestones you may see on an old street…. not pie crust as many folks do these days. If you are served cobbler with pie crust on top, that’s pie, not cobbler! Sometimes you might even see a “crust” bottomed cobbler too. The filling cooks down into a fruity syrupy goodness. Nowadays you might see cobblers topped with such things as cookie dough and even cake batter.
Crumbles and Crisps... as the name says, this crumbly-topped fruity baked goodie is topped with an oatmeal struesel mixture…. thus, you have a “crumbly” topping. Nowadays these have become one and the same. Originally, the main difference was that crisp toppings had oats while crumbs did not. Other toppings might have nuts, graham crackers or cookies in the mixture.
Buckles… these are kind of a cake with fruit on top of the batter and a crumb topping. They are kinda sorta like a coffeecake, but have a softer and more buttery texture. And of course the name…. because it buckles when cooked!
Brown Bettys…. from Colonial days, this dessert usually features layers of sugared apple slices and buttery crumbs, most often made from stale bread. Our ancestors wasted nothing and of course, would turn old bread into a sweet treat!
Pandowdy… this is basically a pie without a bottom crust. Pieces of crust dough are scattered about the top and as ready to serve, broken up into the fruit with a spoon a bit and “dowdied” up so to speak. Traditionally made with apples, pandowdy can be made with any sort of fruit. Molasses is sometimes used as sweetener in Pandowdy, or Pan Dowdy, spelled both ways.
NC Surry County Sonker… The Sonker is indigenous to North Carolina and so loved that it has it’s own festival (1st Saturday in October) and “trail.” Over in Surry County, the rich heritage of the Sonker is celebrated and showcased on the trail in cafes and restaurants. Sonkers are cooked casserole style, like a deep dish pie, in a rectangle baking dish. Back in the day, it was often cooked in a big bread pan so there would be a plenty to feed all the farm hands that day. As for its composure, you will get differing opinions on that. Some say it has a bottom crust while others say only side crusts. Either way, the fruit is often covered with a lattice pastry top. Pretty much any sort of fruit can be used, combination of fruits…. and some even have vegetables like sweet potatoes… one of the most popular kinds of sonker. No matter the crusts, a milk “batter” is poured over top, and the cooked sonker is served with milk “dip.”
I could go on and on about the sonker and will one day do a post just on that topic. For now, you can read more about its history at Our State Magazine.
And for a traditional Sweet Potato Sonker, here’s a recipe I prepared and styled for this piece a few years back when at Our State Magazine as food stylist and recipe developer. (This is not my recipe.)
There are other similar fruit desserts, but will save those for another time… like Clafouti, Shortcakes, Boy Bait, Long Cakes, Bird’s Nest Pudding and some I may not even have heard of. Today’s post will get you started…. so throw yourself together this Grunt/Slump I recently created for Carolina Country’s June edition. I declare, here in mid-blueberry/peach season in North Carolina with folks camping and grilling all around, there’s no reason not to! So stop by your local peach and berry farms or farmers’ market and get some fresh summer fruits… your favorites, and GRUNT!
Grunts (also called Slumps) were born in New England and are a steamed cobbler that “grunt” when cooking and “slump” as they settle. This treat will make you the envy of the campground! Great as a dessert, but also enjoyed as a breakfast treat as well.
- 12" cast iron skillet
- about 3 cups each fresh blueberries and sliced peaches
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3/4 cup self-rising flour
- 1/2 cup self-rising corn meal mix
- 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
- pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/3 cup milk
Prepare coals or heat grill to medium high heat. Put fruits, sugar and cornstarch in skillet and stir to combine.
Put all dumpling ingredients except milk into zippered plastic bag. Squish with fingers until butter has been incorporated and you have a crumble mix. Blend in milk.
Add dollops of dumpling batter on top of fruit, leaving space for it to bubble and “grunt.” Close grill lid to cook. If cooking on open coals, cover with foil.
Cook over indirect heat for about 15 minutes until hot and bubbly.