Pioneer Potluck: Mom's biscuits, so light they take flight

Pioneer Potluck: Mom's biscuits, so light they take flight

Dad and Uncle Guy loved biscuits and Mom made good ones. We always knew some time during the course of dinner we would see a biscuit or a slice of bread go sailing across the table at an unsuspecting person on the other side of the table. Dad would say, "Who wants a biscuit?" then pick one up and throw it at you. Or Mom would pick up a slice of her nice, fresh and tender homemade bread, sail it at you and scold you if you caught and "wrinkled" it. All in fun with a big roar of laughter. He, once in a while, just to "get Mom's goat" would "multilate" a nice three-layer cake. He would just pick up a knife and drop it in the middle, and the cake would fall in a million pieces. Then we got big scoops of cake with a "pancake turner." I always felt sorry for Mom. She went to so much work and they looked so nice. These were the days before box cakes. All she would say was, "Now John, stop that!" If she offered to cut the cake, Dad would act offended and make a big deal out of Mom not trusting him. Rather than listen to him complain, she would hand the cake to him. Maybe that was their way of showing affection toward each other, but I think Dad just liked to entertain.


Faster than a speeding mini-van!
More powerful than a dirty sneaker!
Able to leap tall laundry piles...
In a single bound!
It's a bird!
It's a babe!
It's my mom!

My Mother started me on my adventure of collection recipes.

I grew up on a farm in Northern Colorado, and was a helper in my Moms kitchen "because I was the oldest."  My first recollection of baking was stirring up oatmeal cookies.  My job at the evening meal was fixing the green salad and peeling potatoes.   My Mom was very protective of HER kitchen.  She was the Queen.  A self taught meal planner and "cooker in the kitchen."  She fixed lavish meals for our relatives at Holidays.  She cooked for days and days before and she used every pot, pan and dish in the kitchen...just ask us, my sister and I, we were the "dishwashers." 
-- Ann

The series is written by a 44 year resident of Alaska, Ann Berg of Nikiski. Ann shares her collections of recipes from family and friends.  She has gathered recipes for more that 50 years.  Some are her own creation.  Her love of recipes and food came from her Mother, a self taught wonderful cook. 

She hopes you enjoy the recipes and that the stories will bring a smile to your day.

Grannie Annie can be reached at

Mom's Biscuits

I never mastered the art of making biscuits or dumplings. I prefer to open a can of refrigerated biscuits. They sure taste better than mine. Mom served biscuits with fried chicken for Sunday dinner. Uncle Guy lived with us for some time and biscuits and gravy were his dessert. After eating, he would compliment Mom on how good everything was, "especially your biscuits, Lorreta. Could I have the last of that good gravy, too?"

Set oven at 400 degrees
1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar

In a bowl stir lightly the above ingredients with a fork. Add 1/4 cold oleo. Cut in with two knives or a pastry blender until oleo is fine. (My grandma used her hands and "rubbed in" the lard.) Sprinkle with  cup milk and stir lightly until dough comes away from the bowl. Roll out and cut with round glass dipped in flour. Bake on cookie sheet 10 to 12 minutes.

Serve warm.

Makes 1 dozen.

Mom liked honey on her biscuits. Us kids liked her fine jellies or jams. I especially like her peach jam on a warm biscuit.

When Gail makes biscuits she just pats the dough into a square pan and cuts in squares, then she bakes it for 15 minutes.

Re-cut the squares and serve.

Alaska Vegetable and Moose Meat Soup
For the broth:
3 pounds of moose steaks or moose roast.(or beef)  Cut in cubes.
2 tblsp vegetable oil
2 tblsp butter
4 cups of chicken broth
4 cups of beef broth
2 cups water
1 large garlic clove
2 bay leaves
1/2 tea thyme
1/2 tea pepper
Heat a large heavy soup pot, with the oil and butter. Brown the moose in batches.
Add the broths, water, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and pepper. 
Simmer 4 hours. 
Skim off fat.
For the soup:
1 onion chopped fine
2 carrots cut in pieces
2 stalk of celery-sliced.
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 can green beans cut. 
2 tblsp whole corn
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
2 tblsp tomato paste.
Sautee onions, celery, carrots, in small amount of oil.  Transfer to soup pot.  Add potatoes and simmer until tender.  Add can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, green beans and corn. Salt to taste. 

Simmer 20 minutes. 

Serve with big biscuits hot out of the oven.

Grannie Annies Clam Chowder
If you freeze clams as I once did - you will have to grind the partially frozen clams with medium blade and grind one peeled potato.  Clean grinder with small amount of warm water into the ground clam bowl.

2 to 3 cans minced clams with liquid
2 onions diced in large chunks
1 cup celery diced
1 can chicken broth
1/2 red pepper diced - green will do (one half)
2 small carrots sliced
4 medium new potatoes unpeeled and diced or peeled, diced Red McClure's
2 tblsp olive oil
4 cups milk or 3 cans of canned milk (I prefer the canned milk)
Sometimes I add one small can of sliced mushrooms, to extend for unexpected company.
Heat cooking pot with oil and saute vegetables for 5 minutes.  Stir - do not brown. Add the chicken broth, ground clams and potatoes.  Simmer slowly for 15 minutes until potatoes are done.  (The old, old recipe said to simmer one hour!) 

Add a pinch of Basil, Parsley and Cayenne pepper.(and canned mushrooms and liquid)  Add garlic salt and black pepper to taste.  Simmer 5 minutes. 

Thicken with 2 tablespoons cornstarch in one fourth cup milk.  Add slowly in a small stream, stirring constantly until medium thick.  Simmer just one minute. 

Ladle into soup bowls.  Top with butter and sprinkle with black pepper.  Add a grilled cheese sandwich or buttered toast or hot biscuits.