My mom and grandmother never owned a measuring cup or measuring spoons in their lives. So this is one of those recipes that we've had a hard time to pin down the facts. Its not that they were secretive, its just that they cooked that way in those days. I believe that many a good recipe may be lost forever. But thank goodness we still have cooks who were little girls who stood by moms side in the kitchen watching her every move, fascinated. And learning.
Put your chicken in a large pot with just enough water to cover, too much makes a weaker broth. you may also add a little butter to the broth for flavor. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 1-1 1/2 hours until falling off the bone. You can cut up the chicken first, or use chicken breasts too if you prefer. after cooking, remove from the broth and allow to cool before de-boneing and shred or cut up into small pieces.
In a large bowl, place your flour.(now here is where cooks differ) some call for plain flour and some use self-rising. I use self-rising for EVERYTHING.We have always added the salt and pepper directly into the dumplings before mixing but thats optional. Cut in the crisco, dont use very much because there will be chicken fat in the broth you'll be adding.Stir in enough of the broth to form a stiff dough, it comes together into a ball. But dont work it too much because it will make your dumplings tough. Kind of like pie crust if you work it too much after you add liquid.
Bring the remaining broth to a boil,return chopped chicken to broth.Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick, theres a lot of it so you may have to do this by halves. Cover with a towel and allow the dough to rest for a few minutes. Cut into strips 2-3 inches long, and inch or so wide. Drop into the boiling broth. DO NOT STIR!! Gently push them aside with a spoon to add more until all are added. Reduce to a simmer. Salt and pepper to taste and simmer 15-20 minutes.Stir gently before serving. If you stir the dumplings at all, before they're fully cooked they will fall apart and boil and you will end up with a chicken flavored wall paper paste, a gooey mess.