Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Biscuits and Gravy

Warning: this is not a post about weight loss or health. It's a story of true, unadulterated love between me and my momma's biscuits. Read at your own risk.

Flour, crisco (always called "lard" in the mountains, even after they removed the pig) and milk when mixed together and baked makes biscuits. Flour, grease (preferably donated by pigs) and milk, when stirred in a pan makes liquid biscuits -also known as "sawmill," "country," or "milk" gravy...hmmm???

Is it "biscuits and gravy," or "gravy and biscuits?" I suppose the first one you say is the part of this delicious treat you love the most. For me, it's biscuits and gravy.  Here in the south, it's a treat to have it for breakfast, but more often now-a-days, it's one of those "breakfast for dinner" meals we like to have. This used to only be possible for us by visiting my mom's house, my mother-in-law's house, Hardees, or Cracker Barrell. (By the way, that list is in order from my favorite to my least favorite gravy).

Apparently, our family's relationship with biscuits and gravy goes way back. I'm sure if my Papaw Green were alive today, he would not be the greatest fan of this "treat." He told a story of how he and his cousin took their "bucket" of biscuits and gravy to school and they argued all the way about who was going to carry it. I don't remember if they both wanted to carry it, or if neither wanted to carry it. But either way, the next day, their aunt made them their own individual buckets of biscuits and gravy. This "bucket" was a lard bucket, like what we get Crisco in. And think about it, there were no microwaves in the 1920's...COLD GRAVY - YUCK. I can't imagine anything worse to eat.

Skipping ahead about 60 years, when I was about 13 or 14 years old, my mom had started to work outside the home and I decided I wanted to make breakfast for my dad on his day off. So, I thought, what would make him happier than biscuits and gravy? Nothin'. Well, turns out LAUGHING at my gravy has made him very happy for many years. It's been a running joke in the family that I made play dough to go on the biscuits. As you can guess, it was very thick and not even "fit for dogs." I can't remember what we had for breakfast that day, I think I lost my appetite. Probably toast and jelly...I make a mean toast. I won't even get into the biscuits/rocks story.

Well, as you probably know, the freezer section of the grocery stores are filled with all kinds of biscuits now that are pretty close to the real thing and those are the only ones I buy now (no canned biscuits with gravy please). I usually get the "thins," because they have less calories (and mom always pulls the middle out of her biscuits anyway because they are too "doughy" for her). But I'm the first to tell you, there's nothing like a big "cat head" biscuit, as my dad and brother call them. When mom makes her skinny biscuits, she always adds a big lump of dough to the side of the pan for my brother.

 Anyway...mom and dad gave us some fresh spicy sausage when we visited last week, so I couldn't wait to cook some for supper one night. Well, the aromas of mountain mornings and grease and sausage frying obviously made me think of sausage gravy and I just couldn't imagine pouring all that fat in the garbage, and the dog can't eat it 'cause she gets pancreatitis, so here I go at another attempt to make gravy. I added my heaping spoonful of flour and immediately it started browing and clumping and I thought "so much for that, better luck next time," but decided to stick with it and added some milk, and stir stir stir stir...hmm it was starting to look a little like real gravy. I turned the heat down to low and kept whisking it about in the pan and Jay says "are you making gravy?" with a laugh in his voice. I responded "not sure." Well, to everyone's surprise, I whipped up the best breakfast that's ever come from my kitchen I do believe, except it was for dinner. I guess that counts.

Now, you may be asking, where's the recipe? I really can't say I have one, I just do what mom does and "throw it in there." If you google "biscuits and gravy," you will surely see the Pioneer Woman's blog post with  how-to, step by step (photos included) instructions (but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not use the canned biscuits that she begs not to be judged for). I love her, but *sigh*.

I hope you enjoy your biscuits and gravy and get that same warm, comforting feelings of home that I do every time.

p.s. I'm pretty sure if you take these same ingredients and fry it, you get doughnuts!!


Janet Church said...

This story sounds so familiar. For the better part of our 40 years of marriage, I have managed to make a good breakfast gravy. Where I come from we called it Milk Gravy. However, me and the homemade biscuits had never gotten well acquainted until these past few months. Thank Goodness for the biscuit flour with "Formula L" on the bag. All it takes is that flour and some buttermilk and magic has taken over the oven. My son was here visiting for Thanksgiving and commented on the biscuits and how good they were and the fact that "mom made these". So, thanks Kim for sharing. I truly enjoyed reading the blog. Happy Holidays!!

Auntie Bliss said...

I'm sitting here nodding through the whole post! Haha...it all sounds familiar!
I'm wondering what part of the mtns. you are in :) OHHHH I love it there. Most recently in Cosby, Tn. at Serenity Falls.
I'm off to read more of your posts :)

KIMblogery said...

Thanks, Janet, I may have to try that Formula L stuff; Auntie Bliss, thanks for stopping by. When you were in Cosby, you were just over the hill from my home town of Del Rio, TN. I live in Morristown, about an hour away but my parents live in the mountains. I'm hopping over to your blog now :)

anthony7 said...

Ok, not fair, I'm on a diet. That sounded great. Denise whips up homemade biscuits, our own sausage, and from the sausage... gravy! Only on Sundays though. I got her a drop biscuit pan at Lodge the other day. Ummm, can't wait.

Anonymous said...

OK, the biscuits and gravy were great and now I'm ready for dessert.

How about a good homemade banana pudding or something non-fattening. I like staying skinny without dieting.

You've not written in a week so it's time to catch up.

Anonymous said...

Simplifying gravy making. Use the same ingrediencts, BUT, take your spoonful of floor and put it and about 1/2 cup of water in a tupperware bowl and cover and shake it, pour it into your pan and NO LUMPS...just keep stirring.

Hines-Sight said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog today. I love biscuits and gravy. My dad owned a restaurant in the mountains of NC, that was his specialty.

Raleigh would be a great destination for your family. I recommend the Marriott downtown or the Renissance at North Hills. They are building a brand new Hampton Inn and Suites downtown, but construction is not complete.