You have to understand the history of the biscuit first. The biscuit might have been the first convenience food. In the days of wood-fired stoves it was almost a fast food. Southern cooks made biscuits because they were quick, easy, and required few ingredients. Most of the ingredients came right from the land.
If you read the history of my mother, you will find that after her mother died that she was cooking biscuits for their family every morning. They had hot biscuits for breakfast and often took a biscuit with them in their lunch pail when they walked to their one room school.
They lived on a mill pond and her dad, Walter Styers, was a miller. The soft wheat for the flour was grown nearby in the fertile bottom land of Yadkin County. It was milled in Walter Styers' water-powered mill not far from the house. The buttermilk was what was left after they made butter from the cream they got from their cows. I can be reasonably sure that the shortening used in their biscuits was the lard that got rendered during the winter pig killing.
One of the older ladies in mother's extended family came once in a while and mixed the shortening and other ingredients for her. All she had to do was dip out some flour and add butter milk that likely one of the boys fetched from the spring house. The spring house was nothing more than a small roof over a spot where cool water bubbled out of the ground, Perishable food was kept there in the days before iceboxes.
The case is pretty strong that the Southern biscuit was a convenience food in the early days of the last century. The case might be just as strong today.
My most recent and very successful foray into biscuits started two or three years ago. It was during the holidays. We were tired of cooking and someone suggested that I go get some biscuits from Hardee's. A trip to Hardee's, Bojangles, or even McDonald's for breakfast biscuits is not an uncommon thing in much of the South. My son and I went. I did not wait in the long drive thru line but went inside got our biscuits and took them home.
Just a few biscuits ended up costing ten dollars plus thirty minutes of my time and gasoline to and from Hardee's. The biscuits were not that great. They were greasy and huge. Anyone who has eaten a real biscuit knows they are not greasy.
Fortunately biscuit making runs strong in my extended family so my dissatisfaction with the Hardee's biscuits put me on a path to biscuit mastery.
December 16, 2015, I got up and felt liking having a biscuit or two. Less than twenty minutes later we were sitting down to fresh hot biscuits and I had already cleaned up the mess.
Biscuits are simple. Currently I am using some self-rising flour from the Boonville, NC flour mill. To roughly a couple of cups of flour I add some Crisco shortening (about three tablespoons) which is cut into the flour. Then I mix in enough buttermilk (something less than a cup) to hold it all together. Mix or handle the dough as little as possible. Then turn it out on a floured breadboard, roll it out, and fold a couple of times. Then I use a biscuit cutter and put the biscuits in my greased biscuit pan and then into the preheated 450F oven. Fourteen minutes later I am eating hot biscuits. A little experimenting will make almost anyone an expert.
Trust me, it is a lot easier and tastier than getting biscuits from the local fast food place. The only gas burned is what our oven uses and our rolling pin is very energy efficient.