Do you know what a CATHEAD is and what makes it different from other biscuits?
The basic rule is that a CATHEAD is about the size of a cat's head. I consider it a CATHEAD because the size and shape do not conform to the perfect, round, equally-sized biscuits you get in a can.
My dad earned the title "King of the CATHEAD" in my book. Nobody could make them better. (I didn't say that to my mom, though.) He rarely had an opportunity to bake them for us, since his schedule as a Greyhound bus driver had him on the road by 4:30 a.m. most of the time. I have NEVER been an early riser.
But on those rare occasions when we were all there for breakfast, CATHEADS were on the menu.
The best CATHEADS were baked in an iron skillet. It made the edges crispy and the centers light and fluffy. Oh, my. I'm salivating! The difference between a CATHEAD and a regular biscuit in my house was the method of baking. Mom rolled out the dough and cut them into rounds with an old jelly jar glass. They had to be perfectly round for her. Daddy, on the other hand, grabbed a bit of dough, rolled it slightly in his hands and plopped it into the pan. His rose high and fluffy, drenched in butter. Yeah, I preferred Daddy's CATHEADS.
|Notice the bottom of Mom's attempt|
at CATHEADS. Too bad she didn't let
Daddy make them.
Although CATHEADS are fabulous on their own, we had several ways to improve other ingredients by adding a CATHEAD to the ingredient.
Gravy -- I loved dipping my CATHEAD into gravy. It didn't have to be sausage gravy, it could be any kind of gravy. Think BACON gravy! Yum.
Honey Butter -- Dad loved to soften his butter a bit and add honey to it. I still can see him in my mind using a fork to smooth it all together on a plate. No mixer needed. That honey butter would drip all over, including down my arm and on my clothes, but it was worth the inconvenience.
Apple Butter -- We had a couple of big apple trees on the hill behind our house. Every fall we'd gather apples and Mom would start the process of peeling, dicing, slicing, and cooking. One result was apple butter, fragrant with spices and sweet. Apple butter was even better on a hot CATHEAD.
Apple Jelly -- Another product of all those apples. My mom made enough apple jelly to share with everyone she knew. It wasn't as spicy as apple butter, but it would do just fine on a CATHEAD.
|Uncle Johnny with his giant|
Did you have CATHEADS when you grew up? Do you make them now?
What do you like to slather on your CATHEAD?
Cathead Biscuit Recipe from Harlan, Kentucky
2 cups all-purpose flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 to 2 tablespoons solid shortening at room temperature (Crisco, lard, or butter)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt, Optional
Melted butter for top of dough before baking
Work the shortening into the flour. I use my hands, some people use a spoon or fork. Don’t overmix, should look like coarse crumbs.
Slowly add the buttermilk and stir it just enough to make a ball in the bowl.
Prepare the round pan or iron skillet by melting a thin layer of shortening. Setting it on the stovetop while the oven heats should do the trick.
Pinch off a wad of dough and plop it into the pan. Repeat until the pan is full.
Top with some melted butter.
Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until brown on top.
*If you use self-rising flour, don’t add the baking powder. It already has it in there.