One of the links sent to me lately was to this story about the end of Southern-milled White Lily. It was written by Maryann Byrd, who did the (really wonderful) PBS documentary The Rise of the Southern Biscuit. I saw her film a couple of years ago on television and bought the book because it included all the places visited in the documentary plus had recipes from almost every restaurant featured.
Well, except the Loveless Cafe, because Carol Fay Ellison won’t give out her recipe (which, I so wish she would! Everybody should share their recipes…but maybe the fact that Carol Fay is so mysterious about it is what keeps people coming). The weird thing is that she actually lost to Bobby Flay on a biscuit Throwdown show. And y’all, that New Yorker won – in Nashville – with biscuits with cracked pepper on top! I felt so bad for Carol Fay. But I would have felt much worse if she wasn’t so crazy about keeping that recipe a secret! Now, how does anybody learn to cook without sharing, whether you learn it from a grandmother or a cookbook?
This is a Carol Fay biscuit I had on our last visit to the Loveless:
…but you know who makes even better biscuits, and they’re only about 25 minutes from the Loveless? The Beacon Light in Bon Aqua, Tennessee. The recipe for these is even published in the “Southern Biscuit” book. Ohmystars these were soooo gooood!
I love the teensy ones at the Carriage House Restaurant at Stanton Hall in Natchez (and their recipe is included in the book too). Oh, and yes that is my mint julep served in a tea glass, but this picture was taken waaaay before I got pregnant!:
There’s a short clip from The Rise of the Southern Biscuit dvd here.
The documentary filmed restaurants all over the South – and got recipes for the book – from Atlanta (The Beautiful, Flying Biscuit, Watershed, etc) to Louisville (Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, etc), to New Orleans (K-Paul’s, etc.) to Austin (Threadgill’s) and many, many, many more. In the article that Maryann Byrd wrote a couple of weeks ago, she mentions:
In the filming of The Rise of the Southern Biscuit, great care was taken to conceal the brands of the ingredients used by biscuit makers during baking scenes. This was done to ensure the integrity of the film so there was no impression of purposeful product placement in the documentary.
As the filmmaker, I´m somehow compelled to come forward and share with White Lily flour lovers that most of the biscuit makers interviewed for The Rise of the Southern Biscuit and for the Biscuit Dive Guide swore by White Lily Flour. Many liken White Lily to cake flour, because it is so fine and helps to make a high fluffy biscuit.
Oh, and you know what else? This whole thing with White Lily has gotten so crazy that a 1940 copy of the White Lily Cooking Guide went for $51 (!!!) today on eBay.
Well, guess what? I went to Alibris and found a copy of it for something like $7. I placed my order, then a couple of hours later got an email from them that “we were just informed that this item is no longer available from the particular Alibris seller…” (it was the only one available). And I was thinking I was just soooo smart about getting it for $7, too!!
I even like that the mascot for the Mongomery minor league baseball team is a biscuit. Although the one they put on the field looks like one of Mr. Snuffleupagus’ cousins rather than a biscuit. I have no idea why that is unless it’s dangerous for a top-heavy biscuit shape to try to go up and down stadium steps. Probably. If you go to their site, you can see the biscuit, and he even has a little pat of butter in the middle. Cute!!
So of course when we go to Biscuits games, we have to…you know…:
It just seems like the right thing do at a Biscuits game!
Thank goodness we aren’t Gateway Grizzlies fans. Because instead of having biscuits, they have “Baseball’s Best Burger”. Except it involves a Krispy Kreme.
I just could not do that.