Posting a little early, because Sunday’s post will be a little late.
So “today” (meaning Saturday…or, not really because I try to be grateful everyday but I fall way short of that…ow. My head hurts.) I’m thankful for gravy.
(I should really rename this blog to “Wordie Talks A LOT About Obvious Things”.)
In our little nuclear family (the parentals and the critters and me) I am the gravy/sauce maker. It’s a role that yields great power and great responsibility. Thanksgiving dinner is riding on ME. (What? You don’t make a 20 pound turkey specifically for the drippings? You don’t have two recipes for mashed potatoes? One for the rest of the year that has yummy things like sour cream and mayo and garlic and then one for Thanksgiving which is plain-intended SOLELY as a vehicle for the consumption of gravy? Amateurs.)
This talent has been documented on this blog before. I did NOT inherit this ability from my mama. She DIDN’T TEACH ME ABOUT GRAVY. I saw my Gamma fixin’ it one day, and asked what it was. One day, mama will live that gem down. But not today. 😉 Mama was called to task for this unacceptable hole in my culinary preparation, and Gamma spent the remainder of my time with them that summer teaching me the fundamentals of gravy.
But despite this, gravy unites me to the woman who has questioned her maternity MANY, MANY times in my life. The fundamentals of gravy are pretty symbolic. And they serve to highlight areas of our personalities that, um, need some more spiritual refinement.
As hinted earlier-gravy starts early. With the placing of the turkey in the oven. You’re going for drippings. So while most people would be focusing on the main event, you have to have your eyes on two prizes here, people. The bird and the drippings. Bird is going to cook for awhile. And if you have any sort of desire to cook the bird in time for dinner, you’re going to have to apply heat. Heat + Fat= A balancing act. You want butter (OBVS.) but butter is a bit of a wilting violet when it comes to heat. It can’t take a lot (unless you clarify it which I probably should but FER CRYIN’ OUT LOUD, it’s six o’clock in the dark and we’re not actively seeking extra tasks here) so you have to balance the butter with some olive oil. And then, when you baste, you have to pay attention to the bird and the drippings again. Add stock to temper the oil. Add water to keep the drippings from scorching-but not too much because too much creates a steam bath which does NOT equal crispy skin.
Summary-gravy requires planning ahead. Gravy demands commitment. (We’ll discuss my planning ahead skillz later. I’m not prepared to talk about those tonight.)
After they emerge from the oven, the drippings are reserved. The second phase of the gravy starts. With a roux. You can google a “recipe” for roux, but honestly, it’s something you learn. Time after floury, pasty, or alternatively burnt, time. I no longer measure. I don’t time it anymore. I wing it. I can, because I’ve done it enough. I had to log in the practice first. And even now, my “is it done yet?” test involves me asking myself if I can be patient any longer and if the answer is yes, I keep going. I know me well enough to understand that when I say “HECK NO!!!!”, I wait 30 more seconds, and it’s done. Magically. Every time.
(So-my internal clock is tied to gravy. Yes.)
Gravy requires patience. (Which clearly I have in spades.)
After the roux is done, it is combined with the reserved drippings and some more stock, and seasoned to deliciousness. And then the final requirement for gravy: a warm table with loving friends and family to share it with.
Mama, we got that part NAILED. And I am thankful for you.