Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Thanksgiving Giblet Gravy Story

"When making your roux for your gravy, it must be cooked s-l-o-w-l-y in an iron skillet until dark brown, the color of a pecan shell, before adding your onions, belpepper, etc. And you can't get in a damned hurry or cook it fast...." ~Mama

I'm sharing this true story I wrote several years ago. I hope you enjoy it.

By Marion

Three days before Thanksgiving, I got a phone call from my youngest daughter, Sarah, who was cooking her first holiday meal on her own for her in-laws.

“Mama, this is an emergency. Tell me how to make giblet gravy.”

“Okay, Sarah, get a pen and paper and I’ll try. You know you should have called your Grandma since she’s the one who taught me how to make it.”

“I did call her, Mom, but you know how she tends to leave out important ingredients and never measures anything. She told me to take a big spoonful of shortening and a handful of flour to make the roux for the gravy and flat out refused to even guess a standard of measurement. She said, 'Sarah, you know, the big spoon I use for stirring!'”

I laughed. “This would be SO much easier if I was there to show you. That’s the exact same way she taught me how to make it, but I’ll try to use standard measures.”

“Do you have your giblets?”

“Mom, uhhhhh, what exactly is a giblet?”

Oh, boy, I thought, this is going to be a long telephone conversation…….

“Simply put, it’s that little sack of stuff inside of your turkey.”

“I don’t have a turkey because we’re getting one already fried.”

“Then you have to get you some giblets---which, by the way, are livers, gizzards, and the neck of the bird.”

“Where do you get that?”

“At the grocery store…….Oh, Lord! Listen, do you have some chicken livers, chicken and/or chicken broth? We can do the rush version of this……only you cannot rush the roux. It has to be cooked slowly in an iron skillet for at least 30 minutes to be perfect.”

“I know. I already talked to April (her sister) about that. She told me that gravy was so hard to make like yours that she gave up and let Brian (her husband) make it.”

“I know. I’m the one who taught Brian! April thought you could make it in an aluminum or Teflon skillet in ten minutes. She couldn’t grasp the concept of stirring the roux on low in an iron skillet for a minimum of half an hour until it was pecan colored, but not burnt.”

"Okay, Mom, I have one more important question for you: Why do we put a chopped up boiled egg in the gravy?"

"I have no idea. That's the way Mama taught me how to make it and that's the way your Aunt Mace taught her how to make it and her Mama taught her."

This telephone conversation went on for about an hour and I walked Sarah through her first official skillet of giblet gravy which turned out fabulous. I thought back to my first time. The gravy was lumpy and horrible and my husband said, "It sure doesn't taste like your mother's gravy." It took me many years to get it perfected to where it tasted as good as Mama's....

A few days later, I called my Mama as I was making some cornbread dressing for a dinner at work. Now I know good and well after 35 years of cooking how to make cornbread dressing, but Mama enjoys getting the phone call and bragging to her friends how she still has to help her baby girl make the dressing. And it makes her happy....

"Mama, this is Marion. I'm making the cornbread dressing and I can't remember: Is it more eggs to make it fluffier or less eggs to make it fluffier? And exactly how much chicken broth do I put in it? What do you mean 'keep pouring it in until it's juicy'? And why the hell do we put that boiled egg in the giblet gravy, anyway?"

"Minnie (that's my nickname)," said Mama, "Aunt Mace put the egg in the gravy and my Mama taught her how to make it----and that's just the way we do it!"


I hope you all have a healthy, happy, safe Thanksgiving!



"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." ~H.U. Westermayer

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone"~G.B. Stern

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." ~Meister Eckhart

"When eating bamboo sprouts, remember the man who planted them." ~Chinese Proverb


Phoenix said...

LOL I love this!! We all have our cooking traditions, don't we? Such a perfect story for Thanksgiving - it involves gratitude, food, and family :)

Thanks for posting this - hilarious!

Karen said...

Blessings to you, dear friend! Thank you for lightening the day with the gravy boat!

Kelly said...

Goodness knows we all have our traditions!!! I loved hearing this.

I've never been able to handle giblet gravy, though. I think it's the giblets that make me shudder a bit, LOL! You will cringe (and please don't tell your Mama) when you hear what kind of gravy we have: I mix turkey broth (from the bird I cooked, not canned) into a can of Cream of Chicken Soup!! It's what we've always had and all love.... therefore, "tradition"!!

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, my friend!

Wine and Words said...

I find it so amazing, the way we do things....and the reasons which we know not of. Because it's the way it's always done. If we could only trace back to the first time, what would we find? That the egg was in the gravy because the bowl with potato salad was too close? Lovely story Marion. Have a wonderful holiday dear friend.

Marion said...

Thanks for visiting, girls! I appreciate you all and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Blessings to you all!!

Annie, you just may be right about that potato salad. LOL! Blessings!


beautiful post with beautiful memories - thanks so much for sharing all with us - happy happy turkey to you and yours!

Woman in a Window said...

Marion, my heart is full with this story. Perfect. Just the way tradition is supposed to work!

I call my mom all the time to ask. I refuse to learn anything. If I stay indebted to her, she stays necessary, you know.


Renee said...

I love that story Marion and I have to say I am glad you showed the picture, I didn't know it should be that dark.

Love Renee xoxo

Margaret Pangert said...

That's a great story, Marion! We put the pan juices over the scalloped potatoes and then brown then. That's our version! I loved the Emerson "grace." Thanks for you and Happy Thanksgiving! xxox

Linda S. Socha said...

Amen! Love the story

quid said...

I truly love this story.

SarahA said...

I am wondering, if my Daughter will be the same.I hope so. Oh I am loving this, you. Really a 'smile broadly' story.

BTW I put a link up to reach Thomas.

Judith Ellis said...

What a story of love. It's beautiful. Thanks for sharing, Marion.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Beautiful post, Marion. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Rikkij said...

Marion, I loved it! and I think iot's so sweet why you called Mama to ask. Even to a Northern fella, that gravy looks great! Thanks also for the reminders to be thankful. Good advice. Be well and happy, Dear Friend, hugs and love~rick

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Marion :)
I am on vacation but I wanted to pop over to wish you a Super Wonderful Thanksgiving! I love the quotes :) Looks like your day will be yummy! :))
Love and Blessings :)

Marion said...

Thank you all for the sweet comments. I wish all of you a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving, too. Hugs, Love & Blessings to everyone!!! xoxoxo

Angie Muresan said...

Marion, I really wish I knew that I could make gravy out of the liver, heart and other inside stuff, before I threw them out. Great story. Absolutely love it!