And here are some recipes! From Jim Long’s Columns at Blogspot.
“The “real” gravy most of us in the Ozarks know and love is just plain sausage gravy. It’s simple, cheap and easy to make, yet this satisfying concoction has become almost impossible to find in restaurants. What you’ll find instead, is factory-made gravy out of a can. Wholesale restaurant suppliers deliver cases of gallon-sized cans of fake sausage gravy and all the “chef” has to do is to open the can, pour it into a pot and heat it…There are regional variations of the classic sausage gravy, with some folks adding onions, others adding a dash of cayenne pepper, others swearing fresh-cracked black pepper, or crushed red pepper is the only way to fix the gravy, but over all, the recipe for the real thing remains the same as it has for centuries.” [Jim Long’s Columns]
1 lbs Country Sausage (mild or hot)
3 T Flour
1/2 t fresh Nutmeg
Salt and lots of fresh ground black pepper
2 to 3 cups Whole Milk
Crumble the raw sausage in a hot cast iron frying pan. Fry the sausage until there is no pink left. Add flour 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring quickly until a paste forms. Then add milk, 1 cup at a time and the nutmeg. Stir briskly and cook the mixture until it thickens. Then pour it over fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits, split in half, buttered or not.
A little biscuit history from Quora, “The American South has deep Scottish roots, and American biscuits are made in a very similar way to Scottish shortbread, so most likely the origin of biscuits is in Scottish shortbread. They brought the recipe over, and as dishes do, it evolved. A little more liquid turned the originally hard biscuit into a soft one…The ingredients of biscuits and gravy are all cheap and readily available. Pigs have been in America longer than the Puritans – originally brought to Jamestown in 1608. Other than that it’s pretty much just flour, milk and some salt and pepper. People brought their cooking methods over from Scotland and Northern England (hence the popularity of fried foods in the South), usually emphasizing the simpler dishes, cooking styles and ingredients. Over the decades of people making, perfecting and experimenting with the recipe, those original recipes and cooking methods evolved into the biscuits and gravy we know today. There’s some evidence people have been eating biscuits and gravy since before the Revolutionary War.”
Drop biscuits or rolled, your choice! And the biscuits? You can buy those canned, frozen, instant or bakery-made but the old-fashioned biscuit is as follows:
2 c Flour
4 t Baking Powder
1/4 t Baking Soda
3/4 t Salt
2 T Butter
2 T lard or Crisco
1 c Buttermilk, chilled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. With your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. Pour in the chilled buttermilk and stir to mix. Turn dough onto floured surface, dust with flour and fold dough over on itself 4 or 5 times. Roll out with a rolling-pin or quart fruit jar until the dough is about an inch thick. Cut out biscuits with 2-inch cutter and place biscuits on a baking sheet so the biscuits are just touching. Bake until golden and fluffy, about 15-20 minutes.
Make the gravy while the biscuits are baking. This isn’t health food, but it certainly is a satisfying breakfast! Add some eggs and bacon and a few cups of coffee and you are tasting a real Ozarks tradition.
Just don’t confuse Sawmill Gravy with Sausage Gravy. They are not the same.
“During the early years of America, many logging camps sprung up in the mountains where virgin timber was found. In these lumber camps, cooks would prepare breakfast for a hundred or more lumberjacks. One of the common foods was gravy made from coarsely ground cornmeal. When made from whole grain cornmeal, this gravy was very nutritious and would give the lumberjacks strength to do their jobs.
This gravy’s name comes from the fact that these men worked at a saw mill, and sometimes when the gravy would be coarse and thick, the lumberjacks would accuse the cooks of substituting sawdust for cornmeal.
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
3 heaping tablespoons white cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
dash of pepper
Place bacon drippings in a pan. Add cornmeal and salt. Cook on medium heat, stirring until brown. Add milk and let boil until it thickens, stirring vigorously to keep it from lumping. Season with pepper to taste.” From: “Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook”, Recipe from Janice Miracle, Middlesboro, Kentucky.