International Biscuit Festival!

This pretty much sums it up. What a fun and inspiration-packed four days spent in Knoxville last week. First there was the Wednesday night Alton Brown show in the lavishly restored historic Tennessee theatre. He took us on a witty, sciency quest to re-create his grandmother’s southern biscuits. Then there was the first annual Southern Food Writer’s conference created by John Craig, Dawn Coppock and friends (John’s the Biscuit Boss/organizer of the Biscuit festival). What a truly talented collection of food writers, publishers, bloggers, journalists they collected for this event. I had the great pleasure of presenting a session with Jodi Rhoden about collecting recipes and old-time advice from the southern women in our lives. Then there was the (included with the conference, mind you) dinner at Blackberry farm. Over the top elegant/farmy…. how about a soup of poached trout swimming in a clear smoked local buttermilk broth topped with fresh-plucked watercress? Geez!

Saturday’s grand finale was the International Biscuit festival. Eight  jillion bakers/vendors/restaurants offering biscuits and things that go great on biscuits. Here are chocolate shortcake biscuits that were topped with balsamic strawberries and whipped cream.

The streets were filled with thousands of happy biscuit eaters.


I got to be one of the four judges for the student category.

These three gals could  turn out a biscuit! Here’s Kaylee Case making her winning heirloom Mammie’s Hammie biscuits.  She served them in her grandmother’s broken-handled iron skillet.



And, finally, I demo’d local ingredient southern mountain biscuits. Which would have been great if they weren’t the worst things I ever put in my mouth. Ever. See those glasses on top of my head? Well I was tired by then. Evidently I was too tired to put them on my eyes so I could see what I was doing. Too much leavening and not enough salt, baked in a hot convection oven made for bitter, insipid, glunky biscuits. When I saw a daschaund chewing on one, I knew I was in trouble. After sampling from the tray I was serving from, I ran to save the dern dog’s life! (And promptly threw the rest of them in the trash.) Lesson learned: taste before you share! I would offer up my biscuit recipe but I don’t think I dare! Besides that, I am over-biscuited. How about some kale?


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  1. I LOVE this!! And could you share your biscuit recipe, anyhow? At least the one you use while wearing glasses 🙂

  2. No kale, thank you, but pass the biscuits.

  3. Deni L. Payne

    I have a biscuit question for you, or anybody out there. Years (and years, and years) ago, I ate the best biscuits I’ve ever eaten. They were made daily by my best friend’s aunt, so whenever I visited my friend, I ate them along with all of the family. They were very like pie crust, very, very flaky, and she used them, not just as biscuits, but as burger buns for the Saturday burger lunch she’d serve all the kids. So they would not fall apart, but they were crispy on the outside and very flaky on the inside, not very high, but pretty big in diameter. They were NOT fluffy, like my Tennessee grandma’s (and like so many biscuits) but really flaky without falling apart. Now, this was in Florida, but I think she was from Georgia originally, and the family was one of those who just would not share the recipe. I have tried to make biscuits like hers for years, to no avail. Anyone have any ideas?

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