Tuesday, June 26, 2007


"...you don't even want to see how I make gravy!"

I came rolling up while the grocery clerk and Mr. Semifreddi chatted about camping, which turned into campground cooking and then to biscuits and gravy.

"Please don't tell me it involves tearing open a packet or punching a can."

"Oh, you know it does." We jockeyed for space in the narrow aisle, his stack and my stack, blessedly customer-free at this hour. "I just don't have the knack."

Why go to the bother of making a fresh batch of biscuits only to dump canned gravy on them? Good god! Dude, it's so easy. "You eat bacon? Save the fat or pour off the extra, add your flour and salt and pepper—"

The clerk piped up. "Whisk it!"

"—or just use a spoon and get the flour smooth, then add the milk. I like a low, medium-low heat so it doesn't scorch or get too thick. But you gotta watch it."

"Whisk it smooth!"

I guess. Maybe that clerk also uses a biscuit-cutter instead of a glass to cut the biscuits out of the dough.

"Do you use buttermilk?" I look him up and down, but it's a fair question. Some white chick with tattoos sounding like she just exited I-5 North after a seven-hour drive, what would I know about buttermilk? I could be making whole-wheat and soy-milk biscuits for all he knows.


He looks at me now. "But you don't use a whisk."

"Naw, just a spoon."

"How much do you use?" I have his full attention now. This is serious stuff.

"Dude, I never measure. Just eyeball it. If it's watery cook it a little longer, but watch it because once it gets too thick that's it. Just practice; you'll get the hang of it. And you know how to cook; it'll be easy."

"Awright." We chat a bit more about the savoriness of biscuits and gravy. "But if it doesn't turn out right I'm gonna hunt you down." We laugh, then he and I get our signatures and roll our separate ways.

I made me some biscuits this morning, hot and golden brown, slightly smoky from the bacon fat I used instead of shortening, and covered with peppery cream gravy. If we hadn't finished the beer last night I would have had one with breakfast, it was that decadent.


Chemical Billy said...

Ech. Biscuits and gravy is one of the very few foodstuffs I never got. Don't get me wrong, if you put it in front of me, I'll eat it. But that's true of many many things.

The story goes that my paternal grandmother wouldn't approve my parents' engagement until she tasted my mother's gravy.

An important skill, gravy-making. And I never used a whisk, either. It's just - I don't get the gravy on biscuits. On potatoes, yes.

It seems on the same continuum as hot beef open-face sandwiches (shit on a shingle), which was our Monday night standard, growing up. I always made broccoli for myself instead.

A moral failing, I know.

Bones said...

Oh hey now, G-man's mom used to make them SOS, but that was chipped "beef" in cream "gravy" over toast...eugh. But an open-face roast beef sandwich? Mmm, more bread on gravy, but with meat!

Sometimes for dinner we'd have just gravy over bread; that's good too.