By Otis Griffin
Things have changed just a little the last hun’ert years to say the least. One thing that is very important even today is the uncured desire for bread. All rednecks have a secret addiction to hang a tooth on bread each and every meal. Breakfast was always ‘catheads’ usually smothered with thickening gravy. For anyone under a canal bridge the last century in the South a cathead is a ‘homemade’ biscuit ’bout the size of a full growed black and white, skittish, mouse chasin’ barn cat. A perfect sized handful will hold an overflowing tablespoon of blackberry jam or apple jelly crammed down as dessert.
Momma would get in her own personal paradise, affectionately referred to as the kitchen, and squash together the finest biscuits in the world. Only my brilliant Senior citizens can make good down home, melt in yo’ mouth soppin’ catheads.
Neighbor, there was a time when hog lard was a secret ingredient, but it is accused of cloggin’ up yo’ blood lettin’ tubes nowadays. Momma desired Martha White self-rising flour to whoop around in the green bowl and pour in some sweet milk or possibly some cool, whipped up buttermilk. Yo’ preference.
Then she would stir like she was mad at the rooster for not laying enough eggs. She’d bang that bowl similar to a hay baler snorting and clanging while stuffing lespedeza squares before hittin’ the ground. Momma had a death grip on that bowl like a rat killin’ feist chompin’ on his prize catch.
She got it workable solid and then kneaded the air out of it. Then she would lay it out on the square cuttin’ board and flatten it with the famous rollin’ pin often sprinklin’ on some more flour. Got to be just right! Satisfied the dough was ready; lard was used to grease the black, flat pan so the bottom of the delicacy wouldn’t stick.
Friends, I’m sure none of these high tech, educated Harvard professionals ever realized the precision assuring size of a wonderfully formed biscuit. Simple! A scientific previously discarded vienna sausage can spun with a certain amount of thrust (‘bout like yanking a chicken’s neck) emerged the perfect future molasses sopping.
Once Momma was gratified with the accuracy, each morsel was laid on the greased pan so softly one would think a newborn was bedded in a velvet crib. Further, don’t drop too far from the pan as they could get bruised and hurt them. I never did ‘figger’ out how Momma could cook the catheads correctly. Why? Well, the green door on the old stove was cock-eyed requiring a good slam each closing. Additionally, the heat control knob was slightly cracked and fall off the stob occasionally landing on the back eye.
Once observing a light brown color, she’d snatch that sizzlin’ door open, using her favorite see-through fallin’ apart dish rag she’d fetch and present the finest biscuits you ever hung a lip over. When Momma deposited the mound of catheads in the middle of the table they were so light we had to weight them down with a pole axe handle or they would rise to the ceiling and dance around. Brother that’s light!
Beloved, I hate to brag, but rednecks are brilliant. Two perfect ’zamples. Number one, Martha White flour was wonderful. Additionally, the empty sacks made good diapers, dresses, aprons, smocks and sewed in sausage sackings. Bet ain’t no New Yorker Einstein individual ever thought of that. Now have they?
Only Southerners Know The Difference Between A Cat And A Cathead……GLORY!