Someone who led the charge in this column for years was in town last week.
Former Post and Courier Food Editor Connie Hawkins stopped by to say hello and visit for a while. She and an entourage of friends and relatives came for a Charleston mini-vacation from Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Connie was the food voice for this newspaper until 1996, when she and her husband, Bob Hawkins, retired and moved to Mexico.
Connie had started at the paper in the early 1980s and followed Charlotte Walker in the food post. She was succeeded by Ann Thrash (last name Burger at the time). And then myself in 2003.
Talk about shoes to fill! I often look back at their stories in the archives and am amazed at the body of work. They told Charleston’s food “story” as the city traveled the journey to its high culinary perch today. The “foodies” and anyone who treasures our food reputation owe them thanks for chronicling that passage and the people involved along the way.
Connie returned to the United States and her own state and town, even to the house she grew up in, after Bob’s untimely death a year ago. They lived in Mexico for 16 years; Connie had expected five years at the most.
I wish I could persuade her to write a column or two about the Mexican cuisine they experienced ...
Meanwhile, on a personal note: Thanks for blazing the trail. I couldn’t have done it without you.
This request comes up every few years and gets good response: a knockoff recipe for Red Lobster’s cheese biscuits. This time it was Maria Link of Ridgeville asking for the recipe.
The biscuits’ popularity isn’t lost on Red Lobster, naturally. According to its website, the restaurant chain serves almost 1.1 million of the biscuits a day, or 395 million a year. Or by linear measurement, biscuits that would stretch 15,585 miles, the distance from New York’s Times Square to Shanghai, China, and back.
It was kind of serendipitous, but I heard from longtime reader Harriet Little of Summerville. She clipped the recipe in the same year Connie left.
Harriet writes, “You’re in luck, as I actually saved the clipping of the recipe that was published in the P&C in 1996! I use it occasionally, but with a slight change: I add garlic to the dough, because I prefer to spray the biscuits with canola or olive oil cooking spray. I have also sometimes made the biscuits really thin like a tea biscuit, which works well.”
Cheese Garlic Biscuits
Makes 10 to 12 biscuits
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
¼ cup margarine or butter, melted
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix baking mix, milk and cheese until soft dough forms; beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Mix margarine and garlic powder. Brush over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm.
Cheryl Cote of Summerville passes along a slightly different version:
Red Lobster Biscuits
2½ cups Bisquick
4 tablespoons cold butter (1/2 stick)
1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese
¾ cup cold milk
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Brush on top:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine Bisquick with cold butter in medium bowl using pastry cutter or fork. (Don’t mix too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter about the size of peas.) Add cheese, milk and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder. Mix by hand but don’t overmix.
Drop approximately ¼ cup portions of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using an ice cream scoop. Bake 15-17 minutes or until tops of biscuits begin to turn light brown.
When you take the biscuits out of oven, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Stir in ½ teaspoon garlic powder, dried parsley flakes and salt. Use brush to spread over tops. Use all of the butter.
Also thanks to Sharon Cook and Margaret Lentz of Charleston and Mary Shriner of Santee.
If there’s a recipe you’ve lost or a dish you are just wondering about, email food@postandcourier or call Features and Food Editor Teresa Taylor at 937-4886.