Friday, October 05, 2007


I’m of the opinion that a superb country ham biscuit is a thing of great beauty. The ham just seared in the pan and laid out on the biscuit like an offering to whatever gods hams pray to. Drizzled with honey to cut the salt of the cured ham and perhaps a bit of real butter. The biscuit is often key to the success of a good country ham biscuit. It must be made from scratch and must melt in your mouth.

Finding such ham biscuits should be an adventure. To find really authentic ones, you often must go to places hidden off the beaten path. I’ve had very good luck in following the trails of those warriors of the road, those men and women who make the world run by making sure our good are where they need to be when we wake up. Often, if you frequent the places where the truckers and railmen go, you’ll find a country ham biscuit that will make your heart sing.

I found one many years ago by stumbling into a railway café in Perry, GA. It was in a run down old mercantile building with board plank flooring and sawdust on the floor. It was dark and moody with a few clabbered together tables with plastic tablecloths stapled to them and weathered rail back chairs. The back door stood wide open and had a six foot drop down to the rails below with no stairs. It was so the railmen could just step off the train right into the little café. The place smelled of creosote and diesel. The clientele wore striped overalls and rail caps and carried the dust of their travels with them.

I found a very wonderful ham biscuit that day. I still remember it.

This past week my adventuresome streak kicked in and I found another such lovely ham biscuit.


Just off of I-40 on the Wilton Springs exit is the Mountain View Truck Stop. This isn’t one of those big mega stops where you can find anything from soup to nuts and that glare neon from the interstate. It’s a small stop servicing the truckers coming from the long torturous stretch of highway that winds through the mountains between Asheville and Knoxville. They can only occupy one lane during that stretch and often you will run into long lines of them coming out of the mountain pass. It’s a jarring stretch of interstate with wire nets to catch falling bits of mountain.

I spoke with an older trucker who was in there about the history of the place. He had been stopping there since it opened shortly after they built I-40. Originally, the place was a bit more “full service” than was strictly legal, if you get my drift. A small deserted strip of hotel rooms still stands from those days.

But the truck stop has changed hands many times since those days and is owned by very law abiding family folk. In fact, I believe one of the owners works with the sheriff’s department. You will see local people eating there as well as the truckers traveling on I-40.

Stop by and have a ham biscuit if you are in the area. They make awfully good ones.

They do have a dress code, so please be sure to put your shirt on. It’s state law.

7 Comments:

  1. Hank said...
    Oh Lord, Oh Jesus what a beautiful picture. How long has it been since I had something like that? I don't even know where to find one in Atlanta anymore. Thanks for the memories....
    Anne Johnson said...
    I had to stop by here on Friday, didn't I?

    Whenever I'm traveling by car through unknown country, I always pick the restaurant with the most pickups and/or semis parked outside. This has never led me to a bad meal.
    samuel said...
    I hate it for the trucks, but I like the idea of not getting stuck behind them on that stretch of 40, though we can't really pretend they always stay in their lane.

    Do you have a biscuit recipe you could share? It almost seems as if you posted about biscuits right around the time I started reading, but I didn't pay attention if you did. I currently use Alton Brown's which is only slightly different from my mother's.
    kazari_lu said...
    I love truckstops Rosie!

    We have a great one at a place called Marulen. You have to duck off the highway and wind your way past the shiny fast food places and the petrol station with the 24 hour cafeteria. It's hiding behind them, and its run by just two women - in rush hour you have to wait. But they do roast dinners, and old fashioned cakes and dessert. I love it.
    Manerva said...
    Oh.My.Gosh! I've stopped there a few times back when I use to drive! Talk about memories- although I never had the ham biscuits, I did love their biscuits & gravy- now wish I had checked it out, they look divine!
    Sue Doe-Nim said...
    Holy Smokes, that even looks good to a vegan raised chickadee from Los Angeles.

    I've been making the kids biscuits for breakfast the last couple of weeks and they're loving it.

    The problem is that if I gave you the recipe I'd have to kill you.

    xoxo
    Sue
    Cubby said...
    OMG! I've been a vegetarian for almost 4 years, but that ham looks so good!

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