THANKSGIVING GIBLET GRAVY
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,
"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