Biscuits and sawmill gravy…biscuits and sawmill gravy…biscuits and sawmill gravy.
BISCUITS AND SAWMILL GRAVY!
It’s four in the AM and I’m thinking about biscuits and sawmill gravy. My fifteen-year-old puppy dog can’t decide if she wants to go to the potty or not and is keeping me from going back to sleep. Did I mention she’s blind and on a drug regimen too? I’m thinking about drugs, but my drug thoughts involve food. Might as well write about it, the chance of returning to dreamland is nil.
Someone posted a recipe about two weeks ago and accompanied it with a photo of biscuits ‘runnin’’ in the heavenly manna called sawmill gravy. I have been craving this staple from my childhood every day since.
Big ole tall biscuits split and dripping butter in a puddle of creamy white gravy with bits of pork sausage and black pepper flakes doing the backstroke as if in an Olympic pool. I could hear the plaque swelling in my veins and have been fighting the urge like a pregnant woman craving vanilla ice cream smothered in sardines at three AM in the morning.
I reckin’ there are worse urges, but it is not the healthiest dish in the world, and I’m concerned about health. I’ve been having a lot of unhealthy urges, most of them involving pork, beef or chicken parts deep-fried or slow-cooked and if not smothered in gravy, running in fat…oh man, bacon fat.
I tend to run off the rails when it concerns my diet. I don’t do anything by half measures. I’m planning lunch and supper while I’m eating breakfast. A day of excess turns into a month of penance and metaphorical self-flagellation. Why eat a cup of ice cream when a half-gallon is available?
I can hear the half-gallon calling to me from the fridge, “Eattttt me, EATttttt me, EATTTT ME!” The call starts with a soft, ethereal, childlike voice…and ends in a scream from a horror film. It begins as a suggestion and ends with a demand. A demand I will pay for in my head.
Food is my drug of choice. I will have a liquor drink or a light amber pilsner beer on occasion, but Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniels doesn’t scream at me in a gruff, Tennessee accent from the liquor cabinet, “Y’ALL DRINKKKK ME!”
“This little piggy” who should have gone to market is rooting around in my head instead. Pulled pork BBQ, bacon, country-fried pork chops…yum!
I have waged a battle with my weight for the best part of six decades. I was a fussy eater until my tonsils and adenoids were removed in the late Fifties. It was as if my taste buds suddenly activated. Active taste buds and low willpower are a deadly mix when weight is involved.
Now the memory of my grandmother’s peanut butter cookies is calling to me. “EATTTT ME!” She died twenty years ago and took her cookie and biscuit recipe with her. If not, I might be makin’ biscuits with a side of sawmill gravy and a dessert of peanut butter cookies at five AM this morning instead of writing this.
My grandmother is one of the reasons I’ve tried every fad weight loss regimen known to man with only short-term successes. She had a bad habit of showing her love through food. “Good boy, Donnie. I love you, have a cookie…” or five.
Lost seventy pounds on the Atkins diet, tried, and failed going vegan with the MacDougal Diet, counted fat grams, the beer diet…no not really. I finally stumbled on to something that worked in the mid-2000s. A heart attack.
Exercise with a low fat, taste at a minimum, plant-based diet to stay alive so I could meet my grandchildren. Heavy doses of running and walking. Meat and fried foods…once in a blue moon…. I’m sorry, I grew up Southern with food deep or pan-fried, highly seasoned by the spirits of my ancestors, “That’ll do honey chile. Ease back on that salt but put in another dash of those Cajun seasonings.”
Because I tend to run off the rails, I worry about giving in to my urges. Biscuits and sawmill gravy now, fried liver mush and onions later, fried catfish filets with grilled cheese and onion grits forever…all covered in pan drippings that involve bacon.
I’m not sure grilled salmon on a bed of greens with a simple vinaigrette is going to satiate me.
A still, small voice calls to me, “Eattttt me, EATttttt me, EATTTT ME!” Damn it! I did.
Historical- “The legend of biscuits and sawmill gravy is that, prior to the Civil War, the gravy was created in logging camps or sawmills to give lumberjacks extra energy for a long day of chopping down trees.”
“The dish started with cooking sausages in a pan and then making a roux by tossing flour and/or cornmeal into the pan and cooking to a light blonde color. Cooks deglazed the pan with milk and scraped off the sausage bits stuck to the pan, called fondly by the French, “fond”. If the gravy was served too thick and chunky, lumberjacks were said to accuse the cooks of adding sawdust to the recipe. The original recipe most likely consisted of only breakfast sausage, pan drippings, milk, and black pepper.”
From AmazingRibs.com, Classic Southern Biscuits and Gravy (Sawmill Gravy) Recipe by Meathead Goldwyn
An article from Deep Dish South with a sawmill gravy recipe. https://www.deepsouthdish.com/2009/01/homemade-southern-sausage-gravy.html
Don Miller’s author’s page may be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM