“I ate biscuits for breakfast all my life. I grew up eating them,” said Kell, wife of the late Coach Corky Kell for whom Kell High School was named.
The Kells moved to Marietta in 1965 when Corky took a coaching and teaching job at Wheeler High School. In 1980, he was promoted to County athletic director.
Biscuits were a mainstay in Kell’s home as a child.
“Every morning my mother had breakfast on the table at 7 o’clock. It consisted of some kind meat, some kind of potatoes, usually cooked apples and homemade biscuits and gravy,” the Marietta resident said.
Kell said her mother was in total control of the kitchen and did all the cooking.
“But I was aware of what she was doing and what she was using,” said the mother of two grown children, Kim and Judge Tain Kell and grandmother of three.
The one thing Kell’s mother told her about biscuits was to use White Lilly Flour.
“I believed her and never used anything else,” said Kell, who taught school in the Cobb County School District after her children were older. She also served as assistant principal and principal within the district.
Through observation and trial and error, Kell learned to make biscuits.
“I don’t have a recipe but I can figure it out. I know how much I put in,” she said.
“(Making biscuits) truly is a matter of the consistency of the dough when you put it out on the floured wax paper. You have to know the feel of it when it’s ready to be cut into biscuits,” she said.
“Anybody can make biscuits but you have to keep at them until you get them to taste like you want them to taste,” Kell said.
“I serve biscuits whenever my grandchildren want them,” said Kell, who intends on passing the tradition on to her 13-year-old granddaughter.
“Biscuits are a Southern thing, a Southern delicacy as such. I think (people) don’t know it but they like the buttermilk taste. The buttermilk makes a huge difference in the way they taste,” she explained.
2 pound bag of White Lily self-rising flour
1 large handful Crisco shortening (approx. 1 cup)
1 cup (approx.) buttermilk
1/4 cup water
Utensils: 1 very large mixing bowl, 1 sifter, 1 biscuit cutter (a small glass will do) and 1 jellyroll pan
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. While the oven is heating, place a sheet of waxed or parchment paper the approximate size of a jellyroll pan on the counter. Sift the 2 pounds of flour into bowl. Sprinkle enough of the flour from the bowl onto the paper to almost cover it. Make a well in the flour with your fist. Scoop out approximately 1 cup of shortening from the can and place into the hole.
Grease the pan thoroughly with more shortening. Pour about 1/3 of the cup of buttermilk over the shortening in the bowl. Begin to “work” the milk and shortening together, picking up flour as you go, making a ball. Add another 1/3 of milk and continue to work the mixture, all the while picking up more flour from the sides of the bowl (work with one hand and turn the bowl with the other). Do this a third time, using all the milk and adding the water. Then work the dough, picking up the sides of your ball and pushing toward the middle, making a stiff dough. When the dough is ready, it can easily be lifted from the bowl onto the floured paper. You will not use all the flour in the bowl.
With your hand, pat down the ball until it is about 1/4 inch thick and sprinkle with a little flour from the bowl. Cut out the biscuits, dipping the cutter into the leftover flour after each so the biscuits do not stick to the cutter. Place each biscuit on the greased pan as you cut them out. (TIP: It does not matter if they touch).
Makes about 24 biscuits.
Place the pan on the middle rack of the hot oven and cook 20 to 25 minutes.