DIY Baking Mix ala Bisquick

I bought a box of “Heart Smart” Bisquick brand baking mix as it listed “canola oil” as the fat it contained; instead of the usual “hydrogenated oil” found in most such mixes. I want to encourage the makers to make “non-hydrogenated” stuff, so when I see one I buy it. I also wanted to know if it was any good.

So I’ve made a batch of biscuits with it. It’s pretty good.

OK, so last night I made a batch… and basically ran out of mix. What to do, what to do…

I whomped up enough “other stuff” to get the batch done (and OK at that). But it left me wondering:

Is there a known way to make DIY “Bisquick analog”?

The answer is “Yes and no”.

A web search turned up many alternatives. Most of them either have way more fat in them than the original, often calling out ‘shortening’, and are not what I’d call a particularly healthy mix. Others include powdered milk in the mix (not in the original, which typically calls for using milk in the making of a product… So I can see making a mix with powdered milk already in it, especially for things like camping or emergency use; but all the recipes you use have to change…)

From The Biquick Box

After a run to the store today I found just how much different the Heart Healthy version is from the Regular. It’s not as much as you would think. There were several other brands of “mix wannabe” including one from Jiffy Mix. Pretty much across the board they list “Hydrogenated” on the label. For me, that equates to “NEVER EVER EVER EAT!!!” ( Trans fats are absolutely horrific and, IMHO, account for the vast bulk of all the evil attributed to saturated fats.)

At any rate, from the H.H. box:

Serving size:  40 gm
Total Fat:      2.5 gm
Sodium:       340 mg
Potassium:     40 mg
Total Carbs:   27 gm
Sugars:         3 gm
Protein:        3 gm


0.75 or so Flour (we have to guess a bit as flour is not all starch and protein)
0.0625 Fat
0.075 Sugar
0.025 Salt

(using 2.5 x sodium as the “salt” mass to make up for Chlorine gives about 0.85 gm and at this point I’d guess the potassium is partly from a salt substitute, but some is in the leavening, so I’m just going to “guess” the salt at 1 gram total)

The Regular has 4.5 gm of fat with 410 mg of sodium and does not list potassium content. It has only 1 gm of sugars.

The sugar is there to give nice browning and a more tender crumb / fluffy biscuit, not just a sweeter taste, so if you leave it out, expect a flatter heavier result…

OK, as a “first cut” we get about 2.5 / 35 gram ratio of fats / flour ( or 4.5 / 33 for the regular) That is roughly a 14:1 flour:fat ratio for the H.H. and a 7.5:1 for the regular.

What ratios do you get in the “alternatives”?

Alt One

C is Cups (236.588 ml – call it 237). T is Tablespoon (15 ml) while tsp is teaspoon ( 5ml ). Yes, I know they are really 14.7 ml and 4.928 ml… do you REALLY measure to the 1/10 or 1/100 ml level of precision?)

10 C  Flour
 2 C  Shortening
1/3 C Baking Powder
1/4 C Sugar
1 T   Salt

Well, right off the bat we can see that 10:2 is a long ways from even 7.5:1 … Now figure that the flour is only about 125 gm / cup while the fat is closer to 205 gm, making that ratio 1.64:1 or about 7.5:4.5 and you can see we’ve got about 4.5 times too much fat in that stuff to be even close to a match for the Heart Healthy. Perhaps a bit better for the original.

I also note that they don’t say what KIND of baking powder they are using. This matters as the different kinds take different quantities to “work right”… It does have some sugar in it (but 1/4 cup or 2 ounces is 4 T so you have a 4:1 sugar:salt ratio… a bit high), and the salt looks about right. How about some masses?

One cup of sugar is about 200 grams while a cup of shortening is about 205 grams

(There are more such conversions here: )

OK, so that’s about:

Flour  1250 grams
Fat     410 grams
Sugar   200 grams
BakingP. 64 grams ( 1/3 cup is 16/3 T or 5.3 T at 12 g each or 64 gms)
Salt     18 grams 

Call it 1942 total grams. Ratios?

0.64 Flour
0.21 Fat
0.10 Sugar
0.032 Baking Powder
0.009 Salt

Even for the “hearth healthy” version, that puts the salt at way low and the fat at way high…

How about the “Regular”?

0.75 Flour
0.1125 Fat
0.025 Sugar
0.0258 Salt (so about equal salt and sugar)


You can put a wide range of “shortening” into your home brew “Bisquick” and claim it will work OK. From about 1/5 down to about 1/16. The “online” variations have a wide range of things like salt, sugar, and shortening (more examples below). It ought not be that hard to make an even better ‘substitute’ using a bit of math…

Some Others?

I’m just going to list here a few other examples that I found on the net. You can, by inspection, see the range. If you wish, you can turn it all into masses and see who got it closest to “right”. I’m not going to bother…

8 C Flour
2 C Shortening
1.25 C Dry Milk Powder
1/4 C or 4 T Baking Powder
1 T Salt

Note the lack of any sugar and a VERY high fat to flour ratio.

6 C Flour
1/2 C Cold Butter
3 T Baking Powder
1 T Salt

Mix 2 1/4 cups of 'mix' with 2/3 C milk for biscuits

Again, no sugar. Lower fat though.

4 C Flour
1 C Shortening ( so the same high fat ratio as the 8 cup version above)
2 T Baking Powder
1 tsp  Salt

Again, the lack of sugar…

On one posting I found someone complaining about one of the “mixes” and the advice was given to add 2 T of sugar to “tenderize” and improve the flavor… I’d say also to cut the fat dramatically and add some more salt, too.

and, finally:

1 C Flour
1 T Oil
1.5 tsp Baking Powder
1.5 tsp Salt

In Conclusion

I have some “work to do” to make a mix that is “right”, but it doesn’t look that hard. I’d start with the flour to fat ratio. Get it down into a range closer to the original. For starters, I’d go for a 10:1 ratio of flour to oil by weight. Part way between “original” and “heart healthy”.

Then I’d use about a 0.025 ratio by weight of both sugar AND salt.

At that point, it’s just “add leavening until it works right for the particular leavening you choose” and I’d take that guidance off the can. After an experiment with whatever brand I’ve got on the shelf, I’ll post any final formula (if it is worth it…)

So, for starters, I’d go with:

Flour:  1250 grams ( 10 cups)
Oil:     125 grams (  3/4 cup - hey, it can wander a bit...)
Sugar:    35 grams ( 3 T - 37 grams...) 
Salt:     35 grams ( 2 T - 36 grams...) 
Baking Powder:  Per package directions for about 1450 grams of "stuff", 
but about 1/3 Cup if the 10 cup recipe can be believed.  
At 8/3 ounces x 6 tsp / ounce = 16 tsp or about 77-80 ml)

If anyone wants to “run ahead of me” and try it first, feel free. It may take me a day or two to get it done. And, of course, “improvements welcome”.

One I can clearly see is adding powdered milk for a “camping mix” that does not need fresh milk to make biscuits.

Another would be to use “potassium salt substitute” and potassium based leavening for a zero added sodium version.

Finally, I’m going to make a Gluten Free version “for a friend”. The GF mix in the store was $5 for a box that looked to be about 1 lb. Rice flour was the dominant ingredient, then the rest was about the same, finally ending with a bit of xanthan gum (at less than the salt content…) It also had a smidge of potato starch at more than the salt, but less than the sugar, so not much. Using the above numbers as a guide, I’d start with Potato Starch at about 40 gm and Xanthan Gum at about 20 and adjust from there. ( I already have the xanthan gum… it’s sold at Whole Foods).

So, Happy Baking!

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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15 Responses to DIY Baking Mix ala Bisquick

  1. Verity Jones says:

    This takes the guessing out but you can still vary for personal taste/health preferences.

    OK I was going to give some biscuit recipes, but just as well I looked at the Betty Crocker site first as ‘Bisquick’ seems to be more like a scone mix and I’d have been giving you biscuit (cookie) recipes.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh No!….

    Is “biscuit” another one of those “separated by a common language” words?

    Here it means a small round non-sweetened “scone” like thing (with no fruit in it either…). while a cookie is just a cookie… Buscuits are about an inch tall (sometimes 2 ;-) and about 3 inches across (though can vary) and are generally neutral flavored (though you CAN do savory seasonings, it’s ‘unexpected’ while “cheese buscuits” have gained some traction… In The South you get ‘Buscuits and Gravy’ at breakfast…)

    The American Buscuit is the BIG one:


    I’ll compare the wiki version with my ratios and see how close it comes… but I can already say it is missing the sugar…

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    The Wiki lists it as:


    One cup of Bisquick can be substituted by a mix of one cup of flour, 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon of oil or melted butter.

    I note in passing that butter does not work “one for one” as an oil replacement. It is 20% or so moisture and has salt in it…

    OK the mass ratios for the Wiki version are:

    0.822 Flour
    0.099 Oil
    0.039 Baking Powder
    0.039 Salt
    0.000 Sugar

    So it’s “high” on flour, about right on oil (though a touch low for “regular”). Salt is high and sugar is non-existant (so will not brown as well nor be as tender and with a flatter flavor).

    I’d rate it as likely closer than the other ones I found, but still “not right” as it will be too salty, not sweet enough, a bit pale, and with a tougher texture. ( I can be “picky” about my biscuits ;-) They have to sop up the sausage gravy or the chicken pan gravy Just Right… )

    I’d likely go with

    1 C Flour
    1 T Oil (be sloppy and drip a little extra…)
    3/8 tsp Salt (so about 0.029 mass ratio… still a bit high)
    1/2 tsp Sugar
    1.5 tsp Baking Powder (though I’d like to know what kind as the mass does vary by type…)

    And I’d seriously consider doing 4 tsp Oil at 0.13 mass ratio as it’s very close to “regular” and then everything is in tsp measures (or 5 ml measures…)

    125 gm flour
    20 ml oil
    6 gm or about 2 ml salt
    6 gm or about 3 ml sugar
    6 gm or about 7.5 ml baking powder

    alternatively, one could try:

    20 units mass Flour
    3 units mass oil
    1 unit mass each of sugar, salt, baking powder.

    Which gives mass ratios of:

    0.769 Flour
    0.115 Oil
    0.038 for each of sugar, salt, and Baking Powder.

    A tad high on sugar and salt, but likely OK. And a lot easier to remember…

  4. Sera says:

    Steal Cold Fusion/Removing Fly Paper/DIY Bisquick- It just doesn’t get more diversified than that. Thanks again for the ‘mind pleasers’- very entertaining.

  5. Ed Forbes says:

    looking forward to your review of your mix

    love good biscuits

  6. Duster says:

    “Biscuit” and “cake” are, according to my British daughter-in-law, differentiated by law and, IIRC, one is taxed at purchase and the other is not. If I understood her properly, “biscuits” are what we in the US would call “cookies” – and specifically crisp or hard cookies. This makes sense because the word “biscuit” derives from a French term for “twice-cooked.”

    Cakes are evidently soft and chewy, so British “tea and cakes” might not be what the immediate US response would assume.
    What we call a “biscuit” resembles a scone more than anything else. I have heard, but don’t really know how accurate this may really be, that scones as “treats” were developed in areas that were “wheat poor” – Scotland, Ireland – where wheat doesn’t grow well. Consequently, wheaten breads were more of a treat and a luxury.

  7. George says:

    I still say lard is your best shortening. Much better than these hydrogenated alternatives ( Crisco, for example).

    We used to make lard when we were making scrapple. You can still find it in the store but I notice my store has it labeled with the Spanish “Manteca” rather than the English “Lard”.

    Makes better biscuits and pie crust than the “plastic” shortening in my opinion.

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    Just chalk it up to an eclectic mind that can’t help but be focused on whatever it happens to be dealing with at the moment…. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it to excessive detail and precision most of the time….

    @Ed Forbes:

    Made a batch of biscuits last night. They were “OK” but not quite as good as the real Bisquick ones. IMHO it is due to 3 factors:

    1) I used the “potassium carbonate” baking powder (as my spouse had used up the “regular”) for the first time and don’t know it’s character, so didn’t have quite enough of it. (By mass, it is heavier per unit volume, for example. The directions say ‘use the same amount’ but are unclear as to volume vs mass…)

    2) I used some rather old flour. This was both more aged, and more dry (due to the aging). The initial dough was very dense and dry and I had to add a fair amount of liquid to get it “right”. It was a cheap brand, too. I think using a decent brand of good flour would make it “fine”.

    3) I measured the flour by volume. Given the “dry mix” behaviour, I think my mass was way high per unit volume. As this flour was NOT sifted, I think I just got too much in my haste to “try it”. Using sifted flour by volume, or better yet, measuring by mass, would likely have been MUCH better.

    At any rate, the biscuits were “OK”, not bad at all. I ate 2 with chicken gravy on them (from saved pan drippings in the freezer… “freezer jars” for canning are your friend ;-) and one simply buttered…

    For the next batch I’m going to try a better brand of flour, newer, and measure by mass. ( I’d used “Walmart” flour that had been packed into a tub for storage exactly 2 years ago… I often use “old stuff” for first trials / experiments and, well, this stuff needed to be “turned over”… Normally I use flour inside 6 months, but this tub had gotten stuck in the back… By having it packed in, the low air content lets it keep pretty well, though. But that also makes it fairly dense per unit volume if not sifted. Sigh. I knew all that, but “was in a hurry”…)

    With that done, I think it ought to be “just fine”.

    The only defects in the biscuits were a bit less ‘loft’ than I like ( a bit heavier – likely due to the unsifted and excess flour by volume) and a slightly “old” flavor to the flour. Not at all a surprise in 2 year old flour… even if stored well.

    I’d also add that the use of the “no salt” Potassium leavening gave a slightly less “salt” flavor than I like; but I don’t think of that as a defect as it is part of the design goal of the leavening.

    At any rate, on my “todo” list now is:

    Open newer tub of flour
    Buy regular baking powder
    Measure by mass (and/or sift)

    I think that will make it “just right”.

    My Mom was English, so for most things I keep the sense of the English ways of words along with the American. But Dad was from Iowa and loved “Biscuits and Gravy” so Mom learned early how to make them with Bisquick… and, I think, adopted the “Americanism” in the use of biscuits. Though we did have scones for “tea and cakes”…

    FWIW, Mom made a killer scone. Not too sweet, raisens and a touch of brown sugar, and just right. Had to use “UN-bleached” flour to get to taste right and color right, though… If you want a really good biscuit or scone, use unbleached flour. It makes a difference.


    I agree on the Lard. I bought a large tub about 2 weeks ago. Much better in baking and frying than polyunsaturated oils or “plastic fats” like Crisco. My first batch of biscuit mix was made with Canola oil (as that was called out on the “Hearth Healthy” Bisquick box), but my next batch is going to use Lard. It’s just a whole lot better product.

    It’s easy to make, too. Just take some pork fat and slow cook it to render… My Amish cook book at more Lard listed as an ingredient than I care to mention… (Wonder if IT has a busquit recipe?…) and Grandad lived into his ’90s eating it by the pound at every meal… (No, honest… “laced eggs” are bathed in “bacon grease” that is just smoke flavored lard; and the bacon is, well, “greasy bacon” is just bacon with the lard left in… and then cakes that are about 1/2 the calories from lard (except for the frosting that was mostly butter ;-) It’s not fats that are bad, it’s TRANS-fats that are evil…. IMHO)

    {pause to grab Amish Cookbook…}

    From: “The Amish Cook” by Elizabeth Coblentx with Kevin Williams.

    page 31. Buscuits.

    2 C Flour
    1 T Baking Powder
    1 tsp Salt
    1/4 cup Homemade Mayonnaise or store bought
    1 C Milk
    1 tsp Sugar

    Well, not going to be able to make that into a package on the shelf very easily… As Mayo is mostly oil, that’s the oil part. (Though it also includes some eggs and a bit of acid, and the acid will tenderize and make fluffy the dough…)

    Equal quantities of sugar and salt (and about in line with the ideas above). Leavening is a ‘bit light’ but using mayo will give more “loft” anyway. The high milk content will make a more ‘wet / sticky’ batter, so rising ought to work OK even with a slighly smaller leavening load.

    The rest is the usual “mix the dry, add the wet” then it is dropped by spoonfuls on a pan or into muffin tins ( no neading here! ) as a very sticky dough / batter.

    My but that sounds good…

    The “Homemade Mayonnaise” is a bit different from most store bought, though:

    2 C Sugar
    1/2 C all purpose flour
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp ground mustard
    1 C water
    4 eggs, beaten
    1 C apple cider vinegar
    1 T butter

    It has a “mix and cook” process that’s unlike the typical mayo. Looks like a “how to make at home something close, but without a power mixer…”

    But as the recipe does not require the home made but allows for “store bought” you could just substitute a shortening and ought to be OK.

    At any rate, it’s generally inside the general bounds set for ratio of flour to fat to sugar and salt… but then with that twist in the flavor and texture department….

    Gotta love the ingredient list for “Oatmeal Cookies”….

    1 C Sugar
    1 C firmly packed brown Sugar
    1 C LARD or shortening
    2 Eggs
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    3 C Old Fashioned Oatmeal
    2 C sifted all purpose flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp Baking Soda

    Sugar, Sugar, Lard, Eggs, Flour and Oats…. “Health Food” if ever I heard it ;-)

  9. paulID says:

    OK I make 4 inch biscuits for my homemade biscuits and gravy and they are about 3 inches tall. As far as Mayo goes try this recipe this is a 2 parter so here is the second part this is what I use and it is far better tasting than anything i have tried elsewhere.

  10. Ed Forbes says:

    thanks for the oatmeal cookie recipe

    will have to try it out. Anything with that much “health food” has to be good !

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ed Forbes:

    The rest of the recipe is:

    Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, cream the sugars throughly with the lard until the mixture is light and fluffy and no granules remain. Beat in the eggs until light. ( I assume that means keep beating until sunrise. -E.M.Smith ;-) Add the vanilla and stir. Stir in the oatmeal.

    In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Work in the dry ingredients into the oatmeal mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls, spaced apart, onto cookie sheets.

    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the center is soft to the touch and the top and edges are golden to light brown in color. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

    FWIW, I think the book is well worth buying just for the understanding of what simple food from simple folks can be like; and frankly, for the “stick in the eye” of the present “fat is evil, eggs are evil, meat is evil, living is evil” food Nazi mindset. When I read the recipes and realize that Grandad lived to his 90’s on this (as did several of his kids… other than the ones that smoked…); well, it says “something is wrong” with that Food Nazi Mindset…

    There is a recipe for a BLT. Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwich. You likely know this a a dry toast burned dry bacon semi-health food thing. The Amish ingredients?

    8 Slices Bacon
    8 Slices Homemade Bread (a rich bread…)
    8 Slices Tomatoes
    8 Slices Colby or Swiss Cheese
    8 Leaves oak leaf or iceberg lettuce
    4 Teaspoons Salad Dressing (see page 167) or Miracle Whip.

    [… ‘fry the bacon’…]

    Take 1 slice of bread and layer with 2 slices of tomato, 2 slices of bacon, 2 slices of cheese, and 2 leaves of lettuce. Spread 1 teaspoon of the salad dressing on a second slice of bread and place facedown on the top of the lettuce to complete the sandwhich.

    Notice that this is NOT toasted bread? It’s largely a “mayo and cheese” sandwich with added bacon, lettuce and tomato slices… The Food Nazis would only be “happy” with the lettuce and tomato (as the ‘white bread’ would also leave them atwitter…)

    I grew up with “bacon sandwiches” and still love them from time to time. Fry bacon, not too crisp to fold and bend. Stack as much as you like on bread. Dip the other slice in the drippings in the pan and put on top. Yum! (Tomato and lettuce strictly optional…) As a breakfast, I’ve been known to have a “bacon sandwich” with a couple of laced eggs and coffee… (Laced eggs are cooked in a puddle of bacon grease. You really need to cook about 8 orders of bacon or save the grease to do it right. The hot grease is gently ‘flipped’ with the spatula over the tops of the eggs cooking them with a bubbly finish and lots of bacon bits stuck in them… and saturated with bacon grease coating… done right, they get a very fine brown ‘lacing’ to the edge when done; thus the name.

    “Sunny side up with attitude” ;-)

    I tell ya, it’s the Trans-Fats what done it, Gov… not the lard… Lard was innocent, I tell ya, innocent…. it was railroaded!!!


  12. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Yeah! I grew up on home rendered lard, bacon grease, churned butter and squeezed the cow juice myself. Home grown wheat flower as well. Baking soda, whole milk, spring wheat flour and leaf lard is the only way to make biscuits. pg

  13. Wayne Job says:

    The correct pronunciation of biscuit for your recipe in OZ is scone pronounced SKON. I give you a recipe from around 100 years ago from the cook book published by the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union in OZ.

    Plain Scones.
    1/2 lb Self Raising flour, a good pinch of salt, one teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 cup of milk, one ounce of butter.

    Sift flour and salt, add sugar, rub butter in lightly. Pour in milk almost all at once, working lightly with hands into a soft dough.
    Turn out on to a slightly floured board, knead as lightly as possible, roll out about 1/2 an inch thick, stamp out with round cutter, glaze with yolk of egg or milk, put in hot oven 7 to 10 minutes.

    Mr Smith this is real food with no modernity and thus is pure.
    Made correctly these will rise light and fluffy 3 inches tall, and you will kill for them with jam and real whipped cream when they are warm.

    It is important to remember that collesterol and heart problems is as proven as AGW. Happy eating.

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, it looks like I’ve got a half dozen different biscuit / scone recipes to work through…

    I’m gonna need more chickens…

    (For the GRAVY !! Either that, or some sausages…)

    @Wayne Job:

    Those sound great. The “knead as lightly as possible” is, IMHO, the key bit. The Bisquick box says to “knead 10 times” but I just dump the dough on the board, flip it to coat both side in a dusting of dry, fold once (to make a separation discontinuity for easy opening later ;-) or MAYBE twice, and then shape. Kneading is for bread, not biscuits or scones….

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    Sounds like the “Soda Busquits” my Dad would make… Maybe I need to look up some “Soda Biscuit recipes” too…

    2 cups flour
    ¾ teaspoon soda
    1 teaspoon cream of tartar
    ½ tablespoon shortening
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 cup milk

    Looks “close” but light on sugar… and “shortening” needs to be Lard…

    2 cups flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    4 tablespoons shortening
    3/4 cup sour milk or buttermilk

    Still no sugar, but this looks a whole lot more like it. I remember my Dad wanting buttermilk to get them to rise right and have a silky texture… Once he made “sour milk” with some vinegar and plain milk. It was “OK” but not as good…

    Flour, Lard, Baking Soda, Buttermilk. Then, IIRC, salt and sugar as for the regular buscuits above.

    Original Recipe Yield 6 grand sized biscuits
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon white sugar
    1/3 cup shortening
    1 cup milk

    OK, that’s just about right. Swap the Baking Powder for Baking Soda and swap the “milk” for “buttermilk” and I think that’s just about got it.

    Oh, and that shortening ought to be Lard…

    2 c. flour
    3/4 t. baking soda
    1/2 t. salt
    1/2 c. butter
    1/4 c. vinegar
    1/2 c. milk

    This one uses the “vinegar and milk” trick. I’d just use buttermilk… and add some sugar… “Buttermilk Soda Biscuits”… It’s been a while… I think I feel a trip to the grocery store for buttermilk coming on…

  15. P.G. Sharrow says:

    I would suspect the clabbered milk proteins and lactic acid of the buttermilk would make smaller and stronger bubbles from the baking soda, better leavening, as well as smoother taste.
    The less you handle the dough the better!
    My uncle told me a story about his sister, my mother, and her first batch of biscuits. She kneaded the dough and rolled it out. The biscuits were so tough the dogs buried them. 8-( Mother became an excellent cook. :-) pg

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