Canned biscuits were invented in 1930 by one Lively B. Willoughby in Louisville, Kentucky. He was probably high on Kentucky bourbon at the time to invent such a product. That’s probably what the B. stands for, Lively Bourbon Willoughby. Regardless of the man’s condition, if he were still living today he should be strung up in the nearest Hardee’s parking lot.
Canned biscuits, in my opinion, are un-American. They have deprived countless American women the fine art of making home made biscuits (and they probably could care less). However, show me a man who didn’t love his mother’s home made biscuits and I’ll show you a man who never had a mother. Okay, to be fair, show me a man under 30 years old and his mother probably used canned biscuits. These men have been deprived of holding a hot, deeply browned on the top and bottom and fluffy inside, biscuit. They had to eat canned biscuits loaded with every preservative know to man. No wonder our prisons are full.
I still remember the first time I saw a package of canned biscuits. My father was in a grocery store and saw the biscuits. He was amazed, bought one and brought it home to show my mother. My mother was a make it from scratch person and the idea of canned biscuits did not impress her. In fact, she was so unimpressed that she advised Daddy if he wanted to eat them he could cook them himself. That brought an episode I will never forget.
In those days, to open the can, you had to whack it really hard on the edge of the kitchen counter. Daddy either never read the instructions or got them wrong. You place your fingers on the top of the can and whack it hard on the edge of the kitchen counter. He placed his fingers under the can, raised it high in the air and brought it down on the edge of the kitchen counter with great force. The fingers broke the force and almost broke the fingers. The can didn’t open. I thought it was funny and started laughing. It was the only time in my father’s life that he threatened to kill me.
My mother was raised on a farm and learned to cook at an early age. She didn’t cook the fancy stuff but when it came to down home cooking she couldn’t be beat. My sister never quite master the art. Boiling water for instant coffee was her specialty. She took every shortcut in the kitchen known to mankind. She loved canned biscuits.
I was invited to my sister’s one evening for dinner. I usually declined such invitations but this time I accepted.
“What’s for dinner,” I asked.
“Chicken and dumplings,” was the reply.
To make chicken and dumplings my mother would boil a chicken and while it was cooling she would produce her rolling pen and proceed to roll out the dumplings. She would pull the chicken apart then place the meat and dumplings in a pot and boil until the dumplings were cooked. It was a long tedious endeavor so we seldom had the dish.
My sister shortened the process. She poured a couple of cans of chunky chicken soup in a casserole bowl, covered it with canned biscuits and placed it in the oven.
As she placed the dish on the table, I asked, “What’s that?”
“Chicken and dumplings,” she replied.
“Does our mother know what you’ve done here,” I asked.
“It’s my own recipe,” she said, “shut up and eat.”
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. There is much truth in that proverb. A man is just like a stray cat, feed him well and he will stay around the house. To that end, I blame canned biscuits for the high divorce rate in this country. At least that’s the way I see it.