Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Biscuits And Gravy


As The Deer Hunter and I fixed our plates for supper last night-I realized there was a MAJOR compatibility issue in our relationship. I’ll never know how I managed to overlook the problem for the last 19 years. For whatever reason, after a long day at work with everyone reaching over top of each other to pile food on their plate-there the discrepancy lay-as plain as the nose on my face.

When eating biscuits and gravy-I tear my biscuit into little pieces before dousing it with gravy-The Deer Hunter splits his biscuits in half before adding the gravy.

Now I’m left wondering-who taught me to tear my biscuit into little pieces? Who taught The Deer Hunter to be so neat with his plate of gravy? Will our relationship survive this or will it be an impasse we can never get over?

Please let us know-are you a biscuit tearer or a biscuit splitter?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.



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  • Reply
    March 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    No doubt about it, I’m a splitter. I split it in half, then cut it, like I do all my food into a straight 1″ row, then into teeny tiny 1″ squares while eating it, taught to do it that way by a very particular Mother. I can’t remember if Dad did it that way, but that’s the way Mom taught me it was to be done. Can’t remember why she wanted it that way.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    March 15, 2013 at 9:11 am

    We just had “breakfast” for supper the other night. I split my biscuit and Charley tears his. I hope this difference doesn’t split our relationship :o) But for the record, when we have creamed tomatoes, I tear my biscuit.

  • Reply
    Kim Campbell
    March 14, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    HpAnd in regard to Howland’s query…..we gently pull top from bottom. After the gravy is on top, we use our fork to cut into bite sized pieces.

  • Reply
    Kim Campbell
    March 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Biscuits I split in half. Now if we are having creamed beef over toast, I tear the toast into bite sized pieces, while it is still warm and crunchy right out of the toaster. Either way, I add a good sprinkling of hot sauce!!!!!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Well now that I think about it, I am like Charline, I split ’em and I like the bottoms to be crusty. She’s my sister! Hey just give me that good ole Sawmill or Memaw gravy and I am good to go!

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    March 14, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Tipper: of course im a splitter, but you know in the restaurants they make that decision for you. but if mine come out scrambled i sends um back.boy ya got my mouth watering right now. blessings to all.k.o.h

  • Reply
    March 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    I’m definitely a splitter- and I like the bottoms brown and crunchy!

  • Reply
    March 14, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Dan-Thank you for the comment! Go here to see how I make biscuits: and Ill try to post a gravy recipe soon : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    March 14, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Ron-I use an old yellow tupperwear biscuit cutter that Granny give me : ) Im glad youve enjoyed all the comments-I have too!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    March 14, 2013 at 8:02 am

    I tear! Especially when having chocolate gravy!

  • Reply
    P J Sabados
    March 13, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    I split it in half by hand (no knife needed), and then pour the gravy on top. Biscuits and gravy is one of my favorite breakfasts, and, once in a while, we’ll have it for supper as well.

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    March 13, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Biscuit splitter! Sometimes I will put gravy on one side and jelly on the other.

  • Reply
    Theresa Cook
    March 13, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I’m a biscuit splitter. When splitting your biscuit, the bottom’s free of gravy and you can clean up the plate easier than with the tearing method, splitting is more efficient, at least that’s what I think. I watched my dad for years do this and me wanting not to leave food on my plate or crumbs I do the same. I’m trying to teach my 8 yr old grandson how to clean his plate and it’s difficult.
    Maybe when you were a small child your mom and grandma tore your biscuit so it would be easier for you to eat and you didn’t see any reason for the change. Only a guess.

  • Reply
    Will Dixon
    March 13, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Split sourdough biscuits with corned beef gravy. Wash it all down with fresh milk.That is my kind of decadent dinner!

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    March 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Splitter. I am ashamed to admit that I have argued with my beloved wife over much less important things than that. Which just goes to show that the world’s not a perfect place.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    I’m a splitter, but now that I’ve heard about tearing, it sounds like a better idea! Next time I hope I remember to try it 🙂

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I must admit, I am neither. I have only tasted biscuits and gravy, but never eaten a full serving of one. Now my Southerners seem to split the biscuit, but if you tear it into pieces, then you don’t have to cut it apart after you smother it with delicious gravy. I think you will survive the difference – at least for another nineteen years and by then – who really cares!

  • Reply
    Rebecca Haughn
    March 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Have no patience to read through all the responses today so will just add my little bit. I eat Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, hubby does not. I like my gravy in a bowl and tear my biscuits as needed in to it. No waste and can sop up the last bits with the left over biscuits. Hash browns on the side of course and no ketchup. Opposites attract and after almost 30 years it still does.

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    March 13, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Tipper,I see you do what we do some times for supper. I’m a biscuit tear upper and my husband is the same.
    And thank the Lord for Gravey & Biscuits, we would have starved to death, as the Old Indian Man said, “way back ago.” Good old man he was.
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    Sallie Covolo aka Granny Sal
    March 13, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I used to crumble them in the gravy, with a lot of pepper on top. After the Bisquick biscuits were discovered by me, I did not feel they were firm enough to split. I love that little restaurant they have in NC called “Bojangles”. I don’t think they have that out here. 🙁

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    March 13, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Had to post again…An old departed friend told of an old buddy who lived up in the hills of Gilmer County who after many years of marriage was divorced. My friend asked him if he thought he would ever get married again and his answer was that since they came out with those store bought biscuits he didn’t see much need in it.
    I see your biscuits are cut and not hand patted. Did you use a real cutter or a snuff or jelly glass? I have had fun reading the responses today!

  • Reply
    Bobby C
    March 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    I tear my biscuits, but after reading through all the posts, it seems we biscuit tearers are in the minority! To take things a bit further, I usually add my eggs and choice of pig and mix those in with my biscuits and gravy too. I’m sure this goes against all proper eating etiquette.
    My 16 year old recently spent the night at a friend’s house and, the next morning at breakfast, was shocked to learn that not all folks eat their gravy, biscuits, sausage and eggs in one big pile. Of course there are those folks who can’t stand for their foods to touch. Now they would have a really tough time enjoying breakfast at our house.
    My Dad likes his biscuits more as whole cakes. (Or is it hoe cakes? I’ve seen it both ways.) Basically one huge biscuit the size of a pone of cornbread. Now how would you split that?
    All this talk of gravy and biscuits has got me hungry. And who ever said it’s just for breakfast…at the house the kids are always asking “Tonight, can we have breakfast for supper?” Sounds like a good plan…

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I use two forks to tear my biscuit in half then I put both insides face down on the plate. I use one fork to cut it into tiny squares and then pour the gravy on it. That way I don’t have to touch the outside crust of it. I remember my Grandpa would tear it up for me but everyone else would make me do it myself (to get me used to the way it felt). Well all these many years later as much as I love biscuits I still can not bear to touch the outside crust of one. I can make some really fine biscuits but once they are baked cannot do it. Go figure.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I’m a splitter. There’s a scientific reason for this, the biscuit, being whole, stays warmer longer than it would if it were broken into pieces.
    But now we have another question: When we split biscuits, do we gently pull the top from the bottom with our hands or do we cut them with a case knife?

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    March 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Guess I have to have an extra ration of unhealthy. I split the biscuit, pile on the butter to melt, then cover all with gravy!

  • Reply
    B F
    March 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    any kind …..split.. whole .. torn anyway you take it biscuits and gravy always wins

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    When we were little, my brother & I were soppers. Tear off a piece of biscuit & sop it in the big puddle of gravy. I have seen him still do it as an adult.
    It’s funny–I tend to split the biscuit if in company & tear it up if alone–seems more dignified, I guess.
    Even though a Southerner, I had to convert my husband to gravy loving. His mom is a great cook but her gravy was way too thin & made with just water. (Of course I will eat ANY gravy).
    Now he loves thick gravy either from sausage or bacon grease. I’ve even made it with oil or as Mama did, from Crisco sometimes for a little healthier. I use condensed milk as Mama did for really creamy gravy. I knew we had him when he began to ask for the Tabasco!!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    March 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Well judging from all this biscuit business, there are a lot of gravy-eating folks on this site! The only bread I crumple is cornbread in my glass of milk! And that is called mixen and that is for supper. We never had biscuit and gravy at supper time! And with ELEVEN kids to feed my mama just had to stay with the program!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 11:42 am

    A blooming biscuit ain’t worth all
    that family trouble. But since you
    asked, I tear my biscuits up also
    before adding the gravy. It seems
    a whole lot easier to shovel it in
    that way. Sometimes I get this at
    Hardees’ of the mornings, and I
    usually get it to go, so I can tear up my own biscuit…Ken

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    March 13, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Everyone is missing the forest for the trees. It is Biscuits and Gravy! There is nothing wrong with Biscuits and Gravy and any way you eat them is right. I live in a much later time zone that y’all. Still time to make Biscuits and Sausage Gravy for breakfast. Tipper, thanks for the menu.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I am a splitter. I don’t like my biscuits to get too soggy, and there’s less surface area exposed to gravy when the biscuits are split. That’s what passes for logic at my table!
    You and Deer Hunter certainly do have a serious relationship issue there! I’d say as long as you are making gravy and biscuits everything will work out just fine!

  • Reply
    Donna W
    March 13, 2013 at 11:27 am

    My mom wasn’t one to make biscuits. We had store-bought bread with our gravy. When I was little she would tear it up for me. Once I got big enough, I left the slice of bread whole and poured the gravy over it.
    When I make biscuits these days, which is seldom because of our weight problems, we are both splitters.

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    March 13, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Well, I’ve always been a splitter, never occurred to me to tear it up – which sounds much better!!! As of this moment, I will be a tearer!
    My husband doesn’t even like biscuits and gravy (yes, I am embarrassed) but we’ve managed to survive almost 33 years together despite that, so… don’t worry about the splitting/tearing issue. ; )

  • Reply
    Tim Cuthbertson
    March 13, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I also just split mine in half. I have never even thought of tearing them into little pieces.

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    March 13, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Some things are just right, and the Deer Hunter is right on this one!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 11:09 am

    It is my opinion that the Deer Hunter – being a man of obvious impeccable taste – and having successfully met all requirements of becoming the husband of The Angel of Brasstown with all the rights, privileges, and honors appertaining thereto would probably in no manner jeopardise his status by complaining about a torn biscuit which had been lovingly prepared for him by said Angel. NO Way!!! LOL

  • Reply
    Melissa P - Misplaced Southerner
    March 13, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Now, Tipper, how in the blue blazes am I supposed to stay on a diet when you’re talking biscuits and gravy and that yummy cake? Durn it all!!! LOL
    I’m a splitter as is my dear hubby. If I were gonna be horribly honest, I’d admit that it’s hard to tell what condition my biscuits are in under the amount of gravy I’ve been known to use – hence, the diet.

  • Reply
    Dan McCarter
    March 13, 2013 at 11:03 am

    I am a biscuit splitter BUT I thought I was going to get a good recipe for making Biscuits and Gravy
    point me to it

  • Reply
    Gina S
    March 13, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I never saw a torn biscuit with gravy until my daughter fixed them for her boys when they were little guys. They grew successfully into biscuit splitters, though. Now the only time I tear a biscuit is while eating in a restaurant. Mama made the most incredible gravy from chicken broth. She only served it when she had broth from stewing the giblets for dressing. My girl and I have tried many times to replicate Granny’s gravy. Never tastes as good, though.

  • Reply
    Malcolm and Ciejay Burgess
    March 13, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I’m a biscuit splitter “I think”
    pieces or split It’s one of my fav foods , we can’t get biscuits over here in Thailand , because noone has a oven , and the Thais eat very little bread , some of my Thai friends had never ate a sandwich till they had lunch with me and then they ask “wheres the rice? ” lol, even the Mc Donalds here in Thailand servr the breakfast sauasage , ham , egg on a muffin, somedays I’d kill for a biscuit . lol

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    March 13, 2013 at 10:43 am

    When I was growing up, I was always a biscuit tearer, but my parents were splitters. i suspect that my parents tore mine up when I was too young to handle 1/2 of a biscuit. Since I don’t particularly like changes, I think I just kept on doing that! 🙂

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    March 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I rip up the bisuit, but my boys won’t eat biscuits and gravy. I eat pancakes as they are, but one son will tear his pancakes into little pieces, the other often cuts his up first with a knife. I’m beginning to think they were adopted.
    I split the biscuit for butter, honey, or jelly.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I leave the biscuit on the side and cut one piece at a time. It’s been over twenty years since I have eaten biscuits and gravy. My ex liked his gravy so thick, it was not very appetizing to me. I have crumbled a million biscuits when fixing his plate. Are you serious, The Deer Hunter fixes his own plate? When you have to start doing that for him along with giving him his bath, your marriage, like mine, will crumble just like the biscuits. LOL

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    March 13, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I always split biscuits, but this reminded me of my childhood when bread and gravy for supper was pretty common. The rest of the family kept their bread slices whole before putting on the gravy, but I tore mine up.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    March 13, 2013 at 9:37 am

    The definitive answer in today’s modern world, split the biscuit when it’s fresh out of the oven, tear it into small pieces when warming leftovers as these will heat more evenly in the microwave. With this being said I am fixin to nuke some of my Beloved Wife’s perfect Biscuits and drown the pieces with some wonderful Pork Chop Gravy left over from supper.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    March 13, 2013 at 9:35 am

    If I have a nice fat and soft biscuit I’ll split it. If it is thinner and a bit crunchy I’ll break it in to pieces. The gravy has to pour easily without assistance but not thin enough to make a splash. A big plump biscuit with gravy and scrambled eggs, with the gravy over them too, and bacon fried just right where it bends but not break. That’s what I’m talking about!

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Split biscuits, crumble corn bread. LOL

  • Reply
    john Dilbeck
    March 13, 2013 at 9:14 am

    I never really thought about it, before, but I’m a proud biscuit tearer.
    I come from a long line of biscuit tearers! (grin)
    And I like my gravy thick.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 13, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Splittin’ is downright fittin’;
    Breakin’ deserves head shakin’.
    In other words, like the erstwhile Deer Hunter, I’m a splitter. What I find equally interesting is that you are having breakfast for supper. It’s something we do occasionally, and it was fairly commonplace in my boyhood. In particular, I can remember hamburger gravy as the main course at supper, although more often than not it was atop cornbread, not biscuits. Also, Momma loved to make pancakes or waffles, with scrambled eggs as a side dish. on Saturday nights. I look back with soul-consuming fondness on those memories, and thanks for stirring them (I think, although I find myself a tad misty-eyed).
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    sheryl paul
    March 13, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I split too

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 13, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Tipper, I may be able to answer half your question. I’m a splinter and I’m the one who spit the first biscuit and put gravy on it for the Deer Hunter.
    Let me add one further comment on that. The name Deer Hunter is synonymous with stubborn. If he wanted it torn he would have torn it no matter what anyone else in the family. So, a split biscuit with gravy more than being taught to him must have suited him.
    The Deer Hunter does love biscuits and gravy!
    I am sincerely hoping that this major incompatibility isn’t going to interfere with your otherwise perfectly wonderful relationship.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    March 13, 2013 at 8:57 am

    We are of the B.ruth faction here. Tear them for gravy, split them for honey, or jam.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 13, 2013 at 8:53 am

    A difference stated at last:
    The issue about biscuits
    “To split or to crumble?”
    What does it matter?
    Just don’t argue or grumble
    But enjoy the repast!
    (Just a little “free” marriage counseling, Tipper! Enjoyed the subtle humor of today’s post, and come to think about it, I changed from a crumbler to a splitter when I became Rev. Grover Jones’s biscuit maker!)

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

    My husband and I both tear the biscuit up. You can eat it faster that way! This post has really made me hungry.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I’ll take it either way. Depends on the texture of the biscuit. Now I want some, with salted, heirloom tomatoes…..

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 8:44 am

    I tear my biscuits up first. Seems it saves time and a mess when eating. Guess it’s just the way i’ve always done it without really thinking about it!

  • Reply
    steve in Tn
    March 13, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Break bread but not biscuits. White bread has to be pinched apart because it covers too much of the plate if left whole and covered with gravy. Split biscuits are the civilized way to go.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    March 13, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I have done both, but I am mostly a splitter. Some biscuits don’t split all that well, leading to tearing. The bottom line, though, is that they both taste great!!!

  • Reply
    Rebecca Gray
    March 13, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Biscuit tearer!! And let me add that I lost my mother last march and moved to pa in the same month and lawd how I miss biscuits and gravy!!

  • Reply
    Nancy Fonville Wigmore
    March 13, 2013 at 7:34 am

    I”ve been known to split a biscuit and pour gravy over it then grab another biscuit to tear and sop up the gravy left behind from the first doused biscuit. Have a wonderful day and thanks for sharing. Prayerfully, Nancy

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 13, 2013 at 7:24 am

    A lot depends upon the gravy itself. If it is viscous enough to repel the force of gravity then your broken up method works well. If it is thinner and would tend to run to the plate then The Deer Hunters method works best. You split the biscuit leaving a depression if possible. Or use your impeccably clean fingers to create one. Then spoon on the gravy just to the rim. This method requires you to be patient and wait for the gravy to settle in to the biscuit, otherwise when you make your first cut a torrent of this delectable liquid will be released across the plate. That entails another biscuit waiting on the sideline to be used for sopping.
    The whole concept hinges on the fact that to be successful with biscuits and gravy, there should be nary a drop of gravy on the plate when the last bite of biscuit has been consumed.
    For the gravy pictured, I would suggest the split biscuit method!
    Of course, if you and your spouse are comfortable with each other then consider licking the plate.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 7:21 am

    P(husband) and I do exactly like your husband,except I use my fork and knife to cut biscuits…bite at a time. Happy day from middle TN.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    March 13, 2013 at 7:18 am

    I grew up being a biscuit splitter. My husband was also a biscuit splitter. After the children were born we both became biscuit tearers, maybe from tearing the biscuit for the childrens gravy.
    We split when we are have butter on the biscuit with honey over it like gravy and eat with a fork.
    We split when we are having fresh, hot creamed corn and eat with a fork and sliced fresh red tomatoes. With jelly we eat split with out hands…etc…
    Whoa,…I am getting hungry and fresh tomatoes and corn is a long way off…
    Thanks Tipper, great post

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 7:13 am

    After thinking about it, I’ve discovered that I tear the biscuits at home, and split them when I’m at a restaurant. What does that mean?

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    March 13, 2013 at 6:28 am

    I’m a biscuit splitter,, have been all my life,, guess I seen Mom or Dad do it when I was little.. never seen any body massacre a biscuit before you put gravy on it, I’m not sure that’s legal…in Alabama 🙂

  • Reply
    March 13, 2013 at 6:23 am

    You’re starvin’ me to death. So, guess what I’ll be having for breakfast? We brown our flour just a tad when fixin’ gravy.
    I think your marriage will be solid as long as you keep making those biscuits and gravy, but you might be in trouble, Tipper, if you ever try fixing up a mess of bagels and low cal cream cheese like those Yankees. Nothing says Appalachia or home like biscuits and gravy.

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    March 13, 2013 at 4:26 am

    Tipper I will admit I am a biscuit splitter too. And to add everything has to go in order. First split the biscuits add the fried taters then the eggs, bacon or sausage and at this point I have to add side boards to my plate, then the gravy with lots of black pepper. Yum

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