Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Southern Cuisine

 


As I was scouring my news apps the other day, I came across an article about food you should never buy, but make at home. The article said that the items made at home are cheaper and healthier than the store bought items.

At first glance, I agreed with most of the list. Peanut butter, mayonnaise, applesauce, hummus, and pesto can be made with a good food processor. Granola needs a sheet pan and a bowl and a list of your favorite nuts and grains and fruit. Pancake and waffle mix is nothing but dry ingredients you can pre-measure ahead of time and add the eggs and milk when you are ready to make breakfast. Vanilla extract is a vanilla bean soaking in vodka.

Spice mixes, condiments, pasta, drinks and candy are more of the items you can make. And you decide on the quality of the ingredients, how fresh you want it and how much of two items you want that seems to be plentiful in packaged products, sugar and salt.

A thing you should remember about Southern cooking is that “you eat big.” Not that the food should not be high quality in a gourmet sense but you should also have plenty for your family and guests. Southern cooking is home cooking and you can’t get that from a can or a box made in New York City. You can make it better for less and a part of you is in your food that won’t be found in the store bought food, that being Love.

There are companies that make very healthy products, with no preservatives and fillers, and very fresh products. You have to read the labels and decide how much you want to spend for the convenience of pre-made prepackaged soulless food.

Every self respecting Southerner should know how to make scratch biscuits, pan gravy and as Trisha Yearwood once said, “you can’t be considered a serious Southern cook if you don’t know how to make peach cobbler.”

So the recipe this month you do not need to buy in the refrigerated section or the frozen food section at the grocery store is for biscuits. Recipes for biscuits are not going to vary much in ingredients but vary in technique. There are kneaded and rolled, drop biscuits and hand tossed biscuits. I like rolled biscuits because they have body and a flaky texture. Tips for making good biscuits: do not over mix, and do not roll excessively, and do not twist the biscuit cutter.

 

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