Biscuits are notoriously contentious down south, where squabbles over lard and White Lily flour have upended marriage plans and spoiled Christmas dinners. But baker Art Stone, a Tar Heel emigre, says Seattleites are generally broad-minded on biscuit matters.
"I learned from my grandmother originally," Stone says in what would count as a bulletproof defense in a heated debate over biscuit methodology. "She used to let me play in the dough, but I never got the recipe, because old Southern ladies don't have recipes. They just make biscuits."
Stone last fall launched his biscuit booth at the Broadway Farmers Market. "We planned it to be a sideline, but I haven't been able to find a job," says Stone, who recently relocated here from Raleigh, N.C. "It's all I'm doing, and I'm really excited about it."
An Honest Biscuit, according to Stone, is "crunchy on the outside, but fluffy on the inside." When Stone first offered the description, I thought he'd said "country on the outside," which would be a fine way to describe the attractively rough-surfaced biscuit pictured on his website.
"Some biscuits have so much butter, they just sit in your stomach," says Stone, who aims for lightness.
Stone's future plans include standing gigs at more farmers markets and, possibly, a biscuit truck. He's also looking forward to adding more flavors to his menu.
Having used market apples for a cinnamon Christmas biscuit, Stone is hoping to keep his biscuit selection seasonal by using more ingredients from fellow vendors. "People ask for gluten-free, and I haven't been able to make that work at all, but we are working on a vegetable one," Stone says. "We might do whole wheat for that."
He's also considering a SEAbiscuit, featuring Loki smoked salmon, cream cheese and onions, but worries he might be pushing the boundaries of local biscuit acceptance. "That's one that seems strange to people," he says, admitting most eaters have probably seen the same toppings aboard a bagel. "People are easily scared, I guess."