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Home » From the Commissioner

Slumps and Grunts

New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food (November 28, 2008)

Fruits briefly cooked and topped with this scone-like dough compose New Hampshire’s traditional desserts of slumps and grunts. Quickly made and freshly baked herbed or spiced biscuits serve admirably as a replacement for the more tedious to prepare French or Italian bread. And dumplings after all, are simply biscuit dough without the added fat.

The word “biscuit” is oft times baffling. Until the mid-1800s in America, biscuit usually referred to a crisp, dry cookie. The usage continues in Britain and Europe today. The derivation of the word stems from the French, bis meaning twice and cuire meaning to cook and is related to the Italian word biscotto.
With the development of baking powder as a leavening, the meaning of the word “biscuit” in this country began to take on the meaning of a fast rising bread dough (in comparison to the slower rising yeast bread). So popular was the dough that Early Americans kept large stashes of a dry mix consisting of flour, baking powder, and shortening to which they only needed to add a liquid. In other words, our forefathers made their own Bisquick.

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