Biscuits and Gravy

Where we come from forms so much of who we are. Many try to ignore their own history, preferring to reinvent themselves as someone who they would like to be. If one eschews one’s past in order to fulfill an external desire, the goal tends to remain elusive.”Write what you know”, goes the oft told literary advice. That advice is wise regardless of the endeavor. Who you are and where you come from give you a unique personality that can never be taken from you.

I teach my film composer students that there are three characteristics to a great film composer: Talent, Personality and Point of View. One could argue  that it is these three traits that make any creative individual stand out. Talent is the ability to create. We all have some form of it, some more than others. Personality is developed over time, based on our experiences and where we come from. Point of view is our unique take on the world and what separates us from one another. This is also developed through experience, education, interests and backgrounds.

My late aunt Koky Dishon was a very powerful newspaper woman and the secret to her success was never forgetting where she came from. Not always were the memories positive, but they influenced her motivation in many areas. She changed the way that women were seen in the press, both from the editorial side and the business side. Change only occurs with great conviction and that conviction needs to be true and honest and strongly rooted. When you are flailing or at a crossroads, remember where you came from. It will always help guide you through.

My wife and I share many traditions from our past. Even though we came from different parts of the country, our histories are quite similar. Our grandmothers cooked similar dishes, our towns were similar in many ways and our parents brought us up believing that we could do whatever we set our minds to and that we would always be loved and cherished. All of that parallel history helped to eventually put us on the same path and discover that we were soul mates. One of the dishes that we share from our past is biscuits and gravy. This is Sunday morning comfort food that we now share with our family.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Flour + 2 Tablespoons
  • 1 Stick Butter + 1 Tablespoon (cold)
  • 1 Pound Spicy or Mild Sausage (loose)
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • Pepper

Tools

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Rolling Pin
  • Biscuit Cutter (or juice glass)
  • Large Pan
  • Baking Sheet
  • Slotted Spoon
  1. Pre heat oven to 400.
  2. Combine 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon baking powder in a mixing bowl.
  3. Cut in 1 stick of butter, a little at a time, until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal.
  4. Stir in 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup buttermilk.
  5. Roll out onto a clean, floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick.
  6. Cut into biscuits with a biscuit cutter or anything else round, such as a juice glass. You want discs about 1 1/2 – 2″ diameter.
  7. Bake on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  8. In a pan, break up sausage and sauté until brown.
  9. Remove sausage to a paper towel covered plate, leaving the fat behind.
  10. Add a tablespoon of butter and let melt.
  11. Add two tablespoons of flour and stir immediately until you have a thick rue.
  12. Add 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/2 cup buttermilk and enough water to create gravy consistency and let come to a gentle boil.
  13. Reduce heat and add back the sausage and plenty of ground pepper.
  14. Let reduce for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  15. Split biscuits and ladle over gravy.
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