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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Gravy - The Real Thing

Is gravy a beverage? 

What kind of question is that? If you have to ask, then obviously you don't know. Down here, we know a good thing when we see it (or, in this instance, taste it). And, since we are known for conspicuous consumption, then perhaps that term does apply. But, then we are just talking semantics here.  

Personally, I think of gravy as something additional or unexpected that is pleasing to the senses. That one thing that truly makes a dish. And, as I see it, gravy is gravy. Southerners are honest about it. We have no airs about our cooking (or cuisine as y'all call it now). At least Italians call it as it is. An honest to God old school Italian cook calls the rich red sauce that the meatballs lounge in to soak up all that flavor - "gravy".

When you go to a fine restaurant, the menu may read that their steak is "topped with a sauce au pouivre" or the chicken is served "with a demi glace", and those (yummy) duck fat fries are served "with a side of aioli". Honey, you are either in denial or fairly dense (or both) because those are just fancy names for gravy.

Today's expensive cookbooks of haute cuisine have pages of  recipes for Béarnaise, Hollandaise, Beurre blanc, and Béchamel sauce.  These fancy highfaluton incredibly rich flavorful concoctions are just - you got it! And even though nothing beats a southern gravy, a gravy by any other name is still a gravy. 

So, it doesn't matter whether the meal is served with a South American Chimichurri, a Southeast Asian Sriracha sauce, or an Eastern Asian Tianmianjiang, sweat heart, I hate to tell you, it's all  gravy - "something additional or unexpected that is pleasing to the senses". How tasty would our fare be without it? 

We have our Red Eye, Sawmill (White), and Brown gravies. It is served as rice and gravy, biscuits and gravy, grits and gravy, chicken fried steak and gravy. Then there is the creole gravies that start with a roux and we are in a whole different ball game. 

So if you have a problem with this, that's alright with me. But, you can't have your boring bland dull health food and enjoy your gravy too. Just something to think about. 

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