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Gravy, as in Biscuits and Gravy 2.0

Ok! The Boyfriend has great sentimental attachment to his mother's biscuits and gravy. I suck at white gravy. I've never gotten it right. Same with the Boyfriend, even with his ma's recipe.

Her gravy turns out "fluffy," mine more like a thick batter or a thin dough: sticky and "stretchy" and sometimes with lumps. She makes it with any meat she has (pork/venison sausage, bacon, bologna, etc.) and eyeballs it. Also she adds all the milk at once to the flour/drippins mixture. The recipe was for our benefit.

In '06/'07 Chowser posted a thread about the seasoning and tastiness aspects of B&G.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3527...
I just need help getting the damn gravy right!

My first thought is to add the milk more slowly to keep it at a paste...but will that activate the gluten more from all the stirring? MORE sticky??

Should I use pastry flour? She uses A.P.

Should I use 2% or whole milk? She uses skim.

Should I give up and leave this to the skilled mama? Help, please. Thanks CH's.

*Edit* Forgot to mention, don't assume I know anything about using flour, because it's not my strong point. Bread comes from the store. I use flour in c.c. cookies and that's it. Maybe, someday, with your help, I will make an edible white gravy.

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  1. 1 pound sausage, cooked and drained, fat reserved.

    Return 6 tablespoons of at to the pan.

    Heat 4 cups of whole milk in a separate pan or in the microwave. (You want it hot, but not boiling.)

    Add 6 T. of AP flour to the fat and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 2 minutes.

    Turn off heat and add hot milk, all at once, whisking. Return sausage to pan and continue to cook until the gravy has thickened. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper.

    You can increase/decrease the amount of milk, depending on personal preferences.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      Excellent! I forget that not everyone can do the "eyeball it" method!

      My Memorial Day breakfast will definitely be B&G now! :)

      1. re: pikawicca

        That's it!

        We use the same method. Using whole milk and adding a little bit of minced onion to the sausage, along with a dash of hot pepper flakes.

        I have also been known to use 1/2 chicken stock and half heavy cream for the liquid...

        1. re: shaogo

          Perhaps this is more on topic in the other thread, but the half stock half heavy cream method is a suggestion i read for vegetarian B&G. Veg stock is supposed to add flavor that it's hard to get with just veggie sausage. Maybe not as good as the real thing, but it sounds like a good sub to me. :)

      2. I've used Jeff Smith's (The Frugal Gourmet) recipe for years...don't make it very much anymore but I'm wondering if perhaps you might be using too much flour? I don't measure anymore but I do know that I start with a pound of Jimmy Dean sage breakfast sausage...brown it up and crumble it, then add the flour (I want to say scant 1/4 cup at most..might be only 2 or 3 TB...always all purpose unbleached)...cook it into the crumbled meat, the small amount of fat in the pan (there's usually hardly any but if there was any pooling, I would definitely skim it out of the pan) absorbs the flour and cooking it for a few minutes helps dispense of the flour-y taste. Then about 2 cups of milk goes in and I usually put in half regular milk and half 1%, just because there are 2 kinds always in my fridge; if it seems too thick, I just add another 1/2 cup of milk. I'm not an expert on this dish by any means...others can certainly improve on what I've offered. Sons love it and request it when they visit though.

        1. Mmkay, I have 4 leftover biscuits from this morning's gooey experiment. I'll try small batches tomorrow and report back. Thanks dudes!!

          1. 1. Melt 4 T. butter at med-high heat in cast iron skillet.
            2. Reduce heat to med and slowly incorporate 4 T. flour stirring constantly.
            3. Add 2 cups whole milk, stir to incorporate totally and bring to a fairly robust simmer.
            4. Reduce to very low and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
            5. Add crumbled bacon or breakfast sausage if you like.

            As far as I'm concerned this is a foolproof recipe. Made it many times and it always comes out great.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Perilagu Khan

              That's bechamel with crumbled stuff in it. Not the same.

              DT

              1. re: Davwud

                It ain't milk gravy, but it's quite delicious, nonetheless...

            2. You've gotten good advice already and there's a lot of great info in that thread. For your questions, keep stirring to keep out the lumps, use whisk if necessary, and don't worry about gluten (more of a concern with more flour for biscuits than for the small amount w/ gravy). Whole milk give it that rich silkiness that skim won't but if your BF is used to it w/ skim, I'd consider going that route, if you're trying to make him happy. Use AP flour. Add warm milk to it slowly. Taste, taste, taste. I feel like I've eaten a whole portion by the time I've finished (I'm exaggerating but I do taste w/ every addition).

              Overall, cook sausage, remove. Using the fat, make a roux w/ flour (about 2 big tablespoons) and stir a couple of minutes. Add warm milk (about 2 cups) until thickened. Add additional milk and stir until thickened, about 4-5 cups of milk altogether). Season w/ salt and pepper.

              4 Replies
              1. re: chowser

                Sorry, but 2 T. flour are not sufficient for 4-5 cups of milk.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  2 heaping tablespoons might be, though, for what my mother calls "Patterson" gravy, the kind thin enough to spread around among my granddad and his ten brothers and sisters! ;)

                  1. re: LauraGrace

                    Sounds like a Depression-era recipe (or ten kids). The flavor from the sausage drippings is so intense that you can really stretch it.

                  2. re: pikawicca

                    Sorry it wasn't clear. I meant, as LauraGrace said, two heaping tablespoons, just less than1/4 cup I'd guess, not the little tablespoon measure but a real tablespoon that you eat with. It's what I use.

                2. If you can get the exact brand of flour that his mother is using, use that, otherwise, tracking down unbleached pastry flour might be a good idea. Pastry flour based sauces are usually a little 'fluffier.'

                  No self respectable southern chef would use skim milk for sausage gravy. I guess, maybe, if you used all the fat from the sausage, the richness might even out, but, still, milkfat and pork fat are entirely different animals.

                  Make a roux. It will dirty another pan and involve some additional labor, but you'll never have lumpy gravy ever again. Brown the sausage and pour some of the drippings into a saucepan. Bubble the drippings on low heat briefly to drive off water (water makes for lumpy gravy). Proceed as normally for bechamel. Once the bechamel has been gently simmered for a couple minutes add the cooked sausage. Simmer for a few minutes more, remove from the heat, and then set aside for a while to let the sausage seasoning infuse the sauce. An hour is usually enough, although overnight refrigeration is ideal.

                  By making a white roux with the sausage fat and then a bechamel, you're controlling the amount of lump inducing water in the drippings (by driving them off first) and you're creating a sauce that can be whisked (prior to adding the meat, of course). Whisked sauces are always superior.

                  1. Try Wondra Flour and you will never worry about lumps.

                    1. Lot's of god tips above. A few additional tips:

                      Buy this spring whisk tool:
                      http://www.amazon.com/MIU-France-Stai...

                      Fry sausage in cast iron, remove. Leave the grease and those curious proteinaceous scrudzos.

                      Add 2 Tbs flour per cup of gravy that you want to make. Stir with spring whisk to make quick roux, using the steel whisk to remove scrudzos from their charred contact with pan.

                      Slowly add heated milk. Keep stirring... there are still good scrudzos down there.

                      Keep extra milk on hand if you need to thin it. You may like the thicker 2 Tbs/cup or you may want it thinner. Start thick, and add milk, is better than start thin and add flour.

                      Crumble your sausage onto a plate by rolling chopped pieces between two hands to get the finest crumb, then add.

                      Sneak some white pepper in there for the real kick, then a flourish of black to let them know it's peppered.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: FoodFuser

                        This is the ratio given to me by future ex MIL. It works for her and all BF's siblings but I am now using maybe half that. I'm not sure if it was the presence of moisture in the drippings for my roux though...

                      2. Try bacon gravy. It's even better than sausage gravy.

                        1. Apart from the sausage flavor, this gravy is just a classic white sauce or bechamel. Any basic cook book should give good directions.

                          How large of a batch do you make? It may help to practice a number of small batches. Start for example with tablespoon of melted butter (or bacon grease or other fat), equal amount of flour, and a half cup of liquid. It doesn't have to be milk. Stock would work, even water. A sauce made with milk will be whiter, but the basic thickening mechanism is the same.

                          If it is too thin, let it cook a while, evaporating the excess liquid. If too thick, just stir in some more water or milk. And don't forget to check the seasoning. Often I'll spend more time fiddling with the salt level than starting the sauce.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: paulj

                            Rarely do I raise my mane in defense of a regional dish, but biscuits and gravy is a southern thing.

                            I enjoy your posts, and your ratios and mechanics in this one are right on, but to say that "It doesn't have to be milk. Stock would work, even water" takes it far away from the original. A good bechamel, for sure, and suitable for British Columbia and the land of Sitka spruce and Douglas fir. But down in the South amidst the pines and oaks and magnolias, we use MILK. We even call it milk gravy or cream gravy. The seasoning comes from the spices rendered from the frying of the sausage, not from the mirepoix in chicken stock.

                            The milk adds something to the mouthfeel. Some of us even reduce the milk by heating, or use canned evaporated milk. Some folks who are less health conscious uses half and half or cream, but its not necessary, as it is the milk protein that makes this gravy delicious.

                            1. re: FoodFuser

                              I didn't mean to imply that the gravy for this dish could be made with just water or stock. It wouldn't be a cream gravy without the dairy. But the thickening process is the same, regardless of the liquid. If you can make a smooth veloute (stock based), you can make a smooth sausage gravy. I was trying to stress that making sausage gravy is essentially the same as making other sauces thickened with a roux.

                              1. re: paulj

                                Yep, that's what I meant by: "your ratios and mechanics in this one are right on." Just felt the need to add the white moustache to the picture.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  May I suggest going to Rachael Ray's tv show website. (please dont flame me chowhounders!) ... she has several videos that show her making gravy.

                                  The technique is the same for what you want to make with regards to making a roux (thickening agent) with flour and fat, and then adding in liquid until it becomes a gravy. It may help you to see the consistency a roux looks, and then how things look as you add in liquid slowly.

                                  The basic ratio for gravy is 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon fat, and one cup of liquid
                                  Depending on what you are making, the fat can be butter, oil, or drippings, the liquid can be milk, cream, stock, or even partly wine or juice.

                                  1. re: Mellicita

                                    I can handle regular gravy. I have been told by all the haters ("haters" being the folks whose recipe I am trying to use... ;] ) that I have to add the milk all at the same time for this dish. Why -can't- I add the liquid gradually? It seems like that's the easiest way to use more flour and not get lumps. Any thoughts?

                                    1. re: WhatThePho

                                      I add it gradually and don't get lumps. Are the "haters" the same people who tell you to use skim milk?

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Really, do what you need to do for success and add it gradually. You'll convert the haters into lovers.

                            2. Aight.

                              Batch size: 2 c milk

                              Used 5 sausage links because it's what I had. Cooked em separately and chopped to add last. Discarded drippings because I didn't want to try and separate the fat and juice from such a small amount of liquid.

                              Started over with a clean pan, a good pat of butter(probably 2 T) and 2 heaping 1T measures AP flour. Melted and stirred for just a couple of minutes. Added all the (hot) milk at once. Whisked and whisked, most of the lumps were pretty easy to get rid of, thanks to hot milk or less flour, don't know.

                              Waited for the gravy to thicken up.. Never really got as thick as expected. May need slightly more flour, but I'm not sure what the perfect ratio for this method will be.

                              Added sausage and seasoned. End result, not sticky, but rather thin for Gravy, as in Biscuits and Gravy. I'll keep trying, but this was a step in the right direction.

                              21 Replies
                              1. re: WhatThePho

                                To thicken 1 cup liquid:

                                1 T each fat and flour = thin sauce
                                2 T each fat and flour = thick sauce

                                1. re: WhatThePho

                                  If it's too thin, you can also make a beurre manier (equal parts flour and butter mixed to a paste), add it and keep stirring. You might get a little more raw flour-y taste but it's better than a thin gravy.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    The beurre manie trick is one of my secret favorite sauce fixers; the flourly taste cooks out surprisingly quickly. That's whole butter to flour, btw.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      lol Yes, those are the haters. :) Thank you both for the advice and encouragement, I do intend to get this very basic recipe right one of these days!

                                      I have heard of the beurre manier concept, but never knew what the name was. A friend of mine keeps balls of it frozen. Good idea.

                                    2. re: WhatThePho

                                      1. The drippings have a tremendous amount of flavor. You don't have to 'separate' the fat and juice, you just spoon them into a saucepan and heat them gently until the water is evaporated.

                                      I know that, since you're going the unorthodox route and making roux/bechamel, it's tempting to take it a step further and use butter, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Changing the process to create a smoother sauce is good. Subbing ingredients is not. Pork fat is integral to this dish.

                                      2. Hot roux, cold milk (or vice versa).

                                      3. Unless you really brown the sausage, it tends to give off a little moisture when it goes in the sauce. Sausage gravy, for me, tends require a surprisingly thick (high flour) bechamel.

                                      1. re: scott123

                                        1. Wow, that's rocking my world right now. I didn't read your previous post carefully enough. Evaporate the juice.. awesome.

                                        2. Whhaaa? I have heard hot roux, hot milk, but never been corrected in the other direction. Why would you use cold milk? Are you guys just messing with me now? :)

                                        3. Yeah it wasn't good thin. No surprise but I am scared of goop instead of gravy. I will try the beurre manier and see where that gets me.

                                        Thank you!!

                                        1. re: WhatThePho

                                          Re: 2 -- In all my days of watching my mom make b&g for us at home, watching my dad make b&g for massive church breakfasts, and making b&g myself for the last, oh, 20 years, I have never once seen or used heated milk, and in fact I had never heard of such a thing until someone mentioned it here on CH a few months ago. Ah, the subjectivities and nuances of gravy-making... ;)

                                          1. re: LauraGrace

                                            Me too, I make biscuits and gravy often. It's one of my favorite breakfasts to have. The only gravy for B&B is made with milk and sausage. I usually make such a huge amount that its really hard for me to tell someone how to make it since I pour the milk from the container to the pan etc.

                                            The sausage I like is spicy sausage either Jimmy Dean or whatever your preference. I use two rolls of it. I squeeze it out of the plastic into a hot cast iron pan. I then fry it with a little chopped onion and garlic powder. When it;s cooked, remove almost all the meat and I leave some of the sausage crumbles ith the the fat, I 've never measured the fat, but you have to leave some in so you can build your gravy perhaps there's 1/3 cup. Add your flour. I scatter about 4 T to 5 T of flour in the pan with the grease. Heat the fat that's in the pan on high with the flour. Add some red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt. Stir the fat into the pan. I get it so that its very thick. Then with the back of a spatula, I flatten the flour out so it can cook, then I add the milk from the container. I stir the bottom of the pan making sure to smooth out the roux. I add about 1 1/2 inches of milk to a 12 inch pan if that helps any. Let it heat up and keep stirring keeping a flat spatular directly in contact with the bottom of the pan. It will thicken on the bottom first so the idea is to keep it moving so all the milk can mix. The entire gravy will thicken as it heats. Add less milk to the pan for thicker gravy, you can always thin it out with mpre milk.

                                            Add your meat back to the pan while its heating, and still stirring. After about 10 minutes the gravy should be thickened. Add more black pepper and salt to your taste. Turn it off. If you let it sit, it will also thicken up. Then when you're ready turn it back on, you should be able to tell now how thick it is.

                                            Some people add garlic powder to the first seasonings, I do sometimes. But I think its better to season in the front end, rather than later.

                                            Serve your sausage gravy with tall fluffy bisuits(made with the wet dough) and delicious soft scrambled eggs, I promise you won't eat for the rest of the day, and Good NIght!

                                          2. re: WhatThePho

                                            This has been debated over and over again in this forum, but I'm a firm believer that when hot roux contacts hot milk, the starches gelatinize too quickly and clumping occurs. Aggressive whisking can usually resolve the issue, but I prefer avoiding it in the first place.

                                            Milk develops off flavors as you cook it, so milk based sauces don't have the same clump dissolving, raw flour taste removing advantages that long cooked broth based gravies have.

                                            And I think we're all in agreement, but just to be absolutely clear, beurre manie is an acceptable workaround if you're in a jam, but, if at all possible, it's best avoided by using the proper amount of flour in the roux. It's a white roux, so the flour doesn't get much color, but that tiny amount of toasting goes a long way in prevent the raw flour taste.

                                            1. re: scott123

                                              "beurre manie is an acceptable workaround if you're in a jam, but, if at all possible, it's best avoided by using the proper amount of flour in the roux."

                                              Agreed, beurre manie is more of a quick fix. It's not difficult to calculate roux ratios for small batches of sauces, according to desired degree of thickness.

                                              1. re: scott123

                                                I've used cold milk and warm and find warm comes together much more quickly. FWIW, in MtAoFC, Julia Child calls for hot milk, added all at once.

                                                I agree that the beurre manier is a last resort. It beats a thin sauce.

                                                1. re: chowser

                                                  Since when was biscuits and gravy considered French cooking? And Juila considered an expert in cooking same. In this case, the generic southern grandma is the guru of choice.

                                                  1. re: Plano Rose

                                                    A bechamel is a bechamel is a bechamel. It's about technique. I was commenting on scott123's discussion about white sauce and cold milk.

                                          3. re: WhatThePho

                                            WTP. Gravy, by definition, is made with meat drippings. What you make with butter is bechamel. Not that it won't taste good but it's not the same.

                                            Unfortunately, I'm an eyeballer. I can't really give you measurements but will tell you how I make mine.

                                            In a cast iron skillet.
                                            1lb of sausage. I use Tn. Pride because it has a little higher fat content that JD. I don't remove it. I don't see any reason to.
                                            When it's cooked and crumbled I add just a little bit of butter. About a tb. You should end up with something in the neighbourhood of a 1/4 cup of fat.
                                            I sprinkle on flour and stir. Continuing until it won't take anymore flour. Make sure you get the lumps out. I use a spatula for this recipe.
                                            Then grind on some pepper.
                                            I then add milk until it's the right consistency.
                                            Lastly, and I feel most importantly, salt. To taste. It actually takes more than you think because milk is kinda bland. You'll find that the salt at the end really pulls the meat flavour out.
                                            You may need a bit more pepper too.

                                            DT

                                            1. re: Davwud

                                              :) To be completely honest I had one bite of the butter-roux gravy and dumped it. It was runny and flavorless and I had just seen a commercial for $2 biscuits and gravy at Denny's and I wanted to cry. No more butter, I promise. Only pork fat.

                                              1. re: WhatThePho

                                                That's fine. You could add some bacon fat instead or even a neutral oil.
                                                I find the little amount of butter isn't noticeable.

                                                DT

                                                1. re: Davwud

                                                  Ah, yes, correction: I promise I won't "replace" the pork fat w/ butter. I believe you when you say the addition of butter is all good.

                                                  1. re: WhatThePho

                                                    Oh, higher heat, btw, when you cook the sausages so the liquid all evaporates. I just add the flour to the sausage and fat after cooked, stir and then add the milk. I've never had too much fat (is that possible?;-)) from the sausages but if you feel it is, you can remove some. I've never done Davwud's suggestion on adding a little butter but I'd trust him on his biscuits and gravy advice. Speaking of which, have you gotten to the biscuits part? You'll get even more variations on that part if you ask...

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      Oh buddy, that's a can of worms I don't really know if I should open!

                                                      I've really never met a kind of biscuit I didn't like, from flaky to crumbly to buttery almost bread. I use the old Betty Crocker baking powder biscuit recipe but for the BF I will buy the occasional can of Grands.

                                                      1. re: WhatThePho

                                                        FWIW, I use Alton Brown's biscuit recipe. Mrs. Sippi thinks they're incredible. I used to process the flour and fat but found it much better to use my fingers.

                                                        DT

                                                2. re: WhatThePho

                                                  The use of butter instead of the pork fat has nothing to do with it being flavorless and runny.

                                                  If it was flavorless, it was undersalted.

                                                  If it was runny (thin) the liquid to roux ratio was too high.

                                                  That said, I wouldn't want to waste the flavor in the sausage fat. As described by another poster, I'd just sprinkle the flour on the cooked sausage and proceed from there.

                                            2. Pretty good news to report!! Confession: I used turkey sausage and it wrecked it a little. Don't judge me. :) Only made one 1 cup serving, with almost twice the meat I used before, to wind up with enough drippins. Used higher heat to brown it at the end and my stove did not cool as fast as I thought it would. SO...

                                              I browned just a tiny bit of the flour, by accident.

                                              I used cold milk, and I would agree that it combines more easily when hot, although I added it gradually this time and didn't see a single lump. I can't say anything about the texture, I don't have enough successes to compare. It did seem to thicken without getting gooey this time.

                                              Higher roux to milk ratio than last time, but I kept it thinner than I thought it should be in the end. It set up a little as it cooled, and other than being just a little bit grainy (from the burn? From the cold milk? I didn't cook it for more than 2 minutes after I added the milk), the texture was really good.

                                              I'm gonna file that under "success." Next time, back to pork sausage and at least 2% milk. Appreciate all the imput.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: WhatThePho

                                                The grainy might be milk proteins if you used lowfat or fat free milk. That's my only thought.

                                                I don't think overcooking the flour is the culprit (I always go for really crisp, dark brown, fully rendered sausage, and let the flour get just a little toasty-smelling) or the cold milk -- my gravy this morning was smooth as silk and I have never heated the milk.

                                                1. re: LauraGrace

                                                  I don't know. I can't eat any more B&G right now, no matter how well they turn out. :) I'm going to come back to this, as I am certain practice is the only thing that can help me now.

                                                  1. re: WhatThePho

                                                    Agreed. There's nothing like doing something three or four dozen times to really get the hang of it! ;)

                                              2. I'm thinking you need a recipe for 2; here's mine:

                                                1/2 lb sausage - cook slowly over medium heat in seasoned cast iron skillet (critical to have)

                                                When first begins to brown a little, add 1/4 chopped sweet onion. Cook until onion is clear and sausage browned

                                                Add 1 TBLS all purpose flour and stir throughly

                                                Add 3/4 cup whole milk and 8 grinds black pepper, stir frequently until gravy will smoothly coat the back of your serving spoon.

                                                Ladle over freshly made biscuits.

                                                1. I simply do NOT understand either the difficulty WTF has been having or the need for all these elaborate recipes. Gravy requires enough fat (which means at least one Tbs) and one Tbs of flour per cup of milk. The milk should be more or less at room temperature, but that isn't critical. The flour is spread over the crumbled cooked sausage (with or without any extras, such as chopped onion or pepper) and stirred to combine with a cooking fork. Most southerners of my acquaintance stir in the milk at this point; I prefer color in my gravy, and so keep stirring the flour and sausage until the flour browns a bit, and then stir in the milk. That three-tine steel fork and an iron skillet are all the hardware I need. I didn't mention salt and pepper, but I shouldn't have to...

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                    :) I know it comes naturally to you all.

                                                    I started out with a ratio of 2T fat and 2T flour per c milk. Goop. I changed it to your ratio and it was runny. Third attempt in 4 days was somewhere between and not bad. I couldn't tell you what I have been doing wrong or I wouldn't have posted the question.

                                                    I know it's not rocket science.

                                                    1. re: WhatThePho

                                                      If it's any help at all, my tablespoons of flour are always kinda heaping, especially since I'm going to brown it some and that reduces its thickening abilities. Two Tbs is okay for a thick bechamel, but that ain't gravy!

                                                      None of this came naturally to me twenty or thirty years ago. What allowed me to keep cooking and MAKE it be natural was to understand that as long as I used no toxic substances, and did not actually either leave the food raw or burn it to a crisp, the food was going to be edible. After that we work on PALATABLE. I ate an awful lot of pasty gravy... but as soon as I did a good batch, I could only wonder what all the agony had been about.

                                                    2. re: Will Owen

                                                      Because some people just cannot make sauces, or gravy. My mom was one of them, and I on the other hand, can make any, in fact they are the most natural thing for me to make. Now for me baking, hah! I bet WTP is a baker, I don't hear any complaints about WTP's biscuits.

                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                        My Grandpa K was a cook, a dab hand with meat; my Grandma K was a baker, who could ruin a hot dog but made Clifford Tea Cakes that you had to put into a covered vessel so they wouldn't float away. That said, I don't believe for a second that Grandma could not have learned to cook adequately had she not had a good cook around the house. Yes, there are some things for which we have natural talents, but any moron can LEARN to do that for which he or she has but little native bent. My own biscuits are more than evidence for that.

                                                    3. My mother made everything from scratch without a recipe and she made gravy easily so I didn't think I would have any problems when I got married which, by the way, was the first time I attempted to cook. I was horrible at it until I bought Betty Crocker's cookbook which seems pretty humble by today's standards (we didn't have Food TV then) but bless that book! I became a very good home cook. Here is the deal about cream gravy. It is nothing more than cream sauce or Bechamel (if you want to get fancy about it). It's the sauce you would use to add cheese to make mac and cheese or white sauce over a vegetable. It's also similar to the base of a pudding (flour/butter/cream). In fact I figured this out one day reading the cookbook about thin, med and thick cream sauce. The kind of flour, milk etc does NOT matter for gravy (pudding is another story.) How fast you stir in the milk is not the issue. (Use a whisk though - it incorporates the roux into the liquid better). Your BF's mama has made gravy long enough to eyeball it but you need to follow my simple ratio of fat to flour plus adding the right amount of liquid.

                                                      If you can remember the ratio of fat/flour to milk, you'll never mess it up. 30 years ago, I decided that I needed to memorize the ratio (and of course you add salt and pepper to taste but that's just common sense.) Whether I fried a chicken and used the drippings or fried up sausage for biscuits and gravy, it didn't matter. My rule of thumb is 2 TB fat with 2 TB flour to 1 cup of milk (or if you are making brown gravy, 1 cup of drippings from the roast etc.)(you can double or triple depending on what you need). It always worked for me. You need to learn when the roux is ready for the liquid - it should be a pale brown color - sorry, I can't teach that in a short reply. If your gravy tastes like flour, the roux wasn't cooked long enough. If gravy is too dark, you burned your butter before adding your flour. If you didn't measure quite right (it happens!), and it looks thin you either need to cook a bit longer for it to thicken or if it's too thick put more liquid in and stir. Also if it is too thick, you probably didn't measure your flour right. I always figured it was worth trying to save it and if all else failed, throw it out and start over. That is why I always pour my fat drippings into a jar - you almost always have more fat than you need so keep it in case you have to start over. In the south we had a "grease" jar - mama put all the leftover grease in it and used it again. It sounds gross but it didn't affect the taste. She knew when to discard it eventually. Hope this helps you make good gravy. If I can do it, anyone can make good gravy.