Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Creative Cooking: Five Gallons of Bacon Gravy coming up!

Growing up my sister and I were always at odds with one another. We fought quite a bit and it usually got out of hand as my parents were gone most of the time. Sometimes the fights got really ugly, but usually I would just back off because...well because she was tough as nails and could kick my tail!

When she got engaged, on the night she graduated High School, and began to plan the wedding I was thrilled at the thought of having her out of the house! I couldn't wait to get rid of her! She got married in August and I was finally free of the oppression. I was uninvited to the wedding...on the DAY of the wedding...because I refused to part my hair. I had a Beatles hair style and I agree that I looked like a dork, but that's how I rolled in 1984. I had showered and washed my hair for the occasion what more did she want! Mom and Dad made her take it back, she did reluctantly but reminded me of just how much she hated my guts.

About a month after being married the realization set in that she was married and that she was alone most of the time and that it wasn't as much fan as June Cleaver had made it out to be. One of the biggest drudgeries of her life was that of cooking. She hated to cook and has hated it ever since. I love my sister, but the girls is challenged in the kitchen. Her husband, Doug, has a Mom that is a great cook so I'm sure he was adjustign to life in his house with a bad cook. Sis just couldn't pull it off. She could pull off breakfast and they, often times, ate breakfast for dinner. It was also cheap and they were flat broke!

On one occasion when she was planning her breakfast dinner she decided to really go over the top and serve gravy. Bacon, biscuites, gravy, scrambled eggs what more could a husband want from a young, beautiful wife? One problem, she didn't have a clue how to make gravy. She didn't call me ( granted we had come a LONG way to being friends and liking each other by this time, but I could make gravy!) or my Mom, or my Grandmother, no she called the MIL because she thought her new hubby would love gravy just like Mom made.

"Vera? this is Lesa, I'm making gravy for dinner..."
"Gravy? Oh, are you having roast for dinner, how nice."
"No, no roast I'm cooking breakfast for dinner we are having-"
"Breakfast! For dinner?"
"Yes. Anyway I need to know how to make bacon gravy."
"...Ok. Is the grease in the pan?"
" Well honey, just sprinkle flour over the hot grease until it gets kindly thick, then add milk and bring it to a boil until it's thick and that's it. Don't forget to add salt and pepper."
"That's all you do?"
"That's it."
"Ok, well, thanks for your help."

My sister had fried a whole pound of bacon and thus had a pound's worth of bacon grease in the skillet. Vera failed to check on how much bacon grease there was in the skillet and my sister, being completly oblivious to the ratio required to achieve bacon gravy didn't think about asking, didn't ask. A pound of fried bacon will yield up to 1/4 cup of grease, maybe more. Bacon gravy requires maybe a tablespoon. There are 16 tablespoons in a cup! My sister was about to make eight times the amount of gravy she needed. She added about two cups of flour before it started getting thick enough to add milk, a gallon of milk! My brother in law was home by now and starving to death. My sister had used every pot, pan, and skillet in her kitchen and it was still not thick enough to make the right amount.

"I'm starving!"
"Honey, I'm working on it...dinner is almost ready."
"What are you doing?"
"I"m making gravy."
"Just get it out here, I'm starving."

The biscuits that were covered with gravy filled her plate. Doug, not wanting to hurt her feelings ate very single bite of the revolting sludge that she called gravy, and complimented her on it! And a half pound of bacon along with some scrambled eggs. No milk though because it was used up in the gravy making process.

About 2am my brother in law became sick. Sicker than he has ever been in his life! He had eaten so much gravy...bacon grease diluted with flour and milk...that he became violently ill. He vomited for almost a solid hour. He was sick, friends, sick as a dog. My sister called Vera, again [she did finally learn to NOT call Vera] and informed her that her son, her baby ripped from her home by this brazen hussy, had become ill. No less than thirty minutes later Vera was on the door step (they lived in another town) crying her eyes out. Black tears streaming down her perfectly done made up face. She had saltine crackers, sprite, and chicken soup for her baby and pretty much tended to her baby while my sister learned how to get...uh..."bacon grease, flour, milk, biscuites, milk, and eggs that have been partially digest by her husband" out of the carpeting that led to their bathroom.

My brother in law, 24 years later, is still not eating gravy-bless his heart. My sister has mastered a few things and managed to keep her family alive. She and I do talk about cooking on occasion and I've walked her through a couple of recipes, but I make sure I know how much of what we are dealing with. Bless her heart.


Memaw's memories said...

We all have our horrible food stories. My husband loved chicken and dumplings. His grandmother made the kind that melted in your mouth.

Thinking I could impress him, I made bisquick drop dumplings. I dropped them by the spoon full and they ended up the size of tennis balls. No points for me. Needless to say, I had grandmother teach me to make dumplings. Mine have never been as good as hers, but they are much closer than that first attempt.