It's hard to imagine enjoying a hearty southern-style breakfast or fried chicken dinner without a plate heaping with golden, fluffy biscuits. The versatile side can be used to sop up rich gravy, as a type of bread for a ham sandwich, or even enjoyed on its own with a generous slathering of butter or jam. Beyond their deliciousness, though, how much do you actually know about this mealtime staple? Check out some of these fun facts to learn some more.
What You Probably Didn't Know About Biscuits
1. Biscuits Weren't Always Delicious
What we know as biscuits today aren't what they always looked or tasted like. For centuries, as far back as the Roman Empire, biscuits were hard, flat discs and issued to soldiers as part of their rations. The tough and tasteless material was made without any fat or leavening, so the food would last longer. They were also referred to as “hardtack” or “sea biscuits” and were little more than a form of sustenance to ensure survival.
2. The Origin of the Name
The term biscuit originates from the Latin “panis biscoctis,“ which translates to “twice cooked.” This is because the first biscuits were cooked twice; first baked, and then slowly dried in an oven. This gave them the tough texture and longevity required to survive long military or sea journeys.
3. Only the Wealthy Had Biscuits
Even in the early days of the U.S., southern colonists didn't serve the fluffy biscuits we know today. The first American biscuits were still flat and tough, and typically only found on the tables of the very wealthy.
That's because most of the mills in the south weren't able to process wheat into flour and had to import it from the north. Most people could not afford this and had to use local corn, making cornbread the more popular dish.
4. Baking Soda Didn't Appear Until the Mid 1800s
In the 18th century, Southern cooks began adding lard or butter for a somewhat light biscuit, but they were still fairly flat and dense because they did not contain a leavening agent. It wasn't until the development of sodium bicarbonate -- baking soda -- in the mid-19th century that bakers began producing the light and flaky biscuits we know today.
For delicious, light, and fluffy biscuits in Lexington and High Point, NC, look no further than Biscuit King. For more than three decades, this local eatery has delighted diners with an extensive menu of Southern favorites, including biscuits with all the fixings, fresh-made omelets, pancakes, and sandwiches. They only use the freshest, highest-quality ingredients, and are known for their friendly atmosphere, exceptional service, and affordable prices. Call (336) 991-5524 to place a to-go order or visit them online to see the entire menu.