Why Do You Love Biscuits?

Local biscuit junkies reveal their true feelings for the flaky staple

"What I love is the versatility of biscuits. They're like a potato—you can put a lot of stuff on it and it's always grand. I'm not big on biscuit sandwiches, because I'm not a huge meat eater; the best biscuits I ever had were paired with different condiments. There is the Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville, where I eat them with the honey, and then right next door is Mayfel's, where they serve giant biscuits with gravy. I had the ones with soy sausage gravy, and they were fantastic, I mean, just fantastic. Right now, I'm totally obsessed with biscuits and the strawberry rhubarb jam from Blackberry Farm. When I was in South Doyle High School, we would stop at the Bi-Lo Market on John Sevier on the way to class. I highly doubt they make them there, but they soak them in butter when they heat them up, and they are pretty fantastic."

—Alissa Harb, guest relations maven at Blackberry Farms, Maryville College graduate, and South Knoxville resident

"I've loved biscuits all my life and they are one of the things my mother could make really well. She made the huge ones, the cat head biscuits, although we didn't call them that back then. She didn't use a recipe but made them just by look with White Lily flour and buttermilk, and she'd work it up until she got the dough she liked. She'd also do something we called dog's leg biscuits—I have no idea why—when she was running short on time. She'd form the biscuits into loafs, and we'd break them off like bread. The thing you need to understand is what goes on the table with the biscuits: creamed corn, fresh out of the garden, and scraped off the cob; fried okra with just a touch of corn meal in it. And the ultimate thing with one of mama's biscuits is country-style steak, not the deep-fried, but browned on both sides and then steamed until cooked. That on a biscuit is as good a hiking lunch as you would ever need. I don't make my mother's biscuits; my brother does, and he's sort of famous for them. I'm known for biscuits I got from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, and they're crisper. I do something a little unusual; I roll the dough, but I don't cut it in circles; I slice it all the way across in diamond shapes or triangles. They're totally random, just like me."

—Bill Dockery, biscuit eater from English Mountain

"I love biscuits because of the way they taste, and their texture, and their warmth. I will eat them with any meal. Mostly I put butter on my biscuits, but sometimes I do jelly. The most I've eaten is three at once, big ones, but I didn't have room for dinner after that. My favorite biscuits are from Cracker Barrel, because I can get them any time. I had some favorite biscuits at the Loveless Cafe, but I can't get those all of the time. Biscuits make me happy."

—Camden Fry of Knoxville, age 10

"My love of biscuits, it's inborn. I love the whole biscuitness of them, but I don't sit down and make them. The biscuits at Bistro at the Bijou—the cheese biscuits—they're dang good. And we get Immaculate Baking biscuits from the Three Rivers Market; they're like the healthy, hippy version. I eat them with blackberry preserves from the Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville—copious amounts of that. My best biscuit experience, that's easy. I would stay with my sweet little grandma in Chattanooga in the summer, and she and my aunt would make biscuits and cheese grits for supper, and we would play penny-ante poker afterwards."

—Jill Colquitt, crafter and worker bee at Fisher Tire

"I love biscuits, and I consider a bacon biscuit my favorite food in the world. I love the Rankin Restaurant biscuits, or for the house I will buy the Mary B's frozen kind from Food City. I cannot make biscuits to save my life; it's one of the few things I've really made an effort to learn to make and failed horribly with. We grew up more with the angel biscuits, which are almost a kind of yeast roll, but I like the big, fluffy biscuits now. My best biscuit ever was at Blackberry Farms, the one time I ate out there. The little details all added up: I'm pretty sure they used Cruz Farm buttermilk, and they probably make their own damn butter. It was fluffy and rich all at once."

—Laura Sohn, director of Mockingbird Events, co-owner of the Public House, Biscuit Brain Trust volunteer

"I wish I could eat biscuits every day, but I'm trying to do better about that sort of food. They are ambrosial when I allow myself to eat one, and more spectacular the more awful they are for you—I like them packed with real butter. If you can get them made from scratch, that's best, but store-bought Pillsbury are good too, as long as you're eating them right when they're done and coming out of the oven."

—Eric Walker, restaurant worker and recent college graduate