The Gravy Episode
I am calling this the gravy episode as an ode to my friend Lauren Camp who does a wonderful radio show called Audio Saucepan on KSFR.FM in Santa Fe on Sundays at 5pm and she titles each show by unusual names including the word episode which references the music and poetry, sometimes in obscure and sometimes obvious choices which makes it that much more intriguing.
Anyway we went to a little local diner in Pawhuska, OK and both ordered the Deluxe specifically without gravy. (2eggs, homefries, sausage, bacon and homemade biscuits). Well I think NO GRAVY is an oddity in Pawhuska as they came smothered in what we would consider white gunk. The waitress had to ask her boss if she could exchange them and we were thoroughly grilled on whether we had been specific about the gravy and ‘balled’ out and told that what we should have ordered was the two egg special. I noticed that everyone else in the restaurant was heavily into gravy so I guess our outsider status was by this time thoroughly assured.
Gravy is a sauce made often from the juices that run naturally from meat or vegetables during cooking. Strictly speaking, in the UK, the gravy is those unthickened juices (particularly from meat), but the American variety is widely in use as well. The gravy may be further coloured and flavoured with gravy salt (a simple mix of salt and caramel food colouring) or gravy browning (gravy salt dissolved in water) or ready-made cubes and powders can be used as a substitute for natural meat or vegetable extracts. Canned gravies are also available. Gravy is commonly served with roasts, meatloaf, rice, and mashed potatoes.
White gravy (sawmill gravy in Southern U.S. cuisine) is the gravy typically used in biscuits and gravy and chicken fried steak. It is essentially a béchamel sauce, with the roux being made of meat drippings and flour. Milk or cream is added and thickened by the roux; once prepared, black pepper and bits of mild sausage or chicken liver are sometimes added. Besides white and sawmill gravy, common names include country gravy, milk gravy, and sausage gravy.