In Nebraska where we reportedly having nothing better to do than stare out the window at cornfields and listen to the cows mooing, residents have been nurturing an obsession with gravy since the first homesteaders arrived in 1863. Unlike other parts of the country, informal studies (conducted mostly by me on days when I have nothing else to do but stare out the window at cornfields), have proven that the only way to a Midwesterner’s heart is not through clogged arteries or even through the stomach, but instead through a hefty pile of something mashed under a quart of gravy. Add this fact to the history books, folks: centuries ago, the gravy train stopped here and never left.
This year, as the Easter Bunny lurks in the shadows and waits to ambush the groundhog who is apparently now one of America’s 10 Most Wanted, I will be determining what to serve with my gravy on Sunday. A couple of nights ago, I gathered my family together and asked what they would like on the holiday menu this year. “Gravy!” my son shouted.
“Make that two votes for gravy,” my husband added.
My daughter held up three fingers and smiled. It was unanimous—or as they call it in Washington, D.C.—a miracle. I banged my meat tenderizer on the counter. “The vote passes!” I exclaimed as the self-proclaimed Speaker of the House. “Once again, gravy will be starring in our Easter meal.” My family had just accomplished more in five seconds than Congress had in five years.
As I opened the cupboard and searched for the gigantic soup tureen I use to serve gravy in my house, I thought back to the time we were invited to a friend’s house in a neighboring state for a holiday dinner. Her husband, born and raised in California, is a fabulous chef who slaved over a hot stove all day while we chatted and dreamed of what he would be serving with the gravy. “Dinner is served!” he bellowed from the bowels of the kitchen. A few minutes later, we sat at the table, placed our napkins on our laps, and inhaled the lovely scents emerging from several serving bowls on the table. Suddenly, I heard my son gasp. He leaned over and whispered in one of those loud whispers that everyone can hear, “Mom, where’s the gravy?”
“Hold on,” my friend’s husband replied. “I forgot the gravy in the kitchen.” Obviously relieved, we all laughed uproariously … until he returned to the table … with a creamer in hand. He set it on the table. “Have at it!” he said as he spooned potatoes on his plate. I peered into the creamer which, according to my very unscientific calculations, held approximately seven tablespoons of gravy for twelve people. I made a dent in my potatoes, poured one tablespoon of gravy in the middle, and passed it on to my son while loudly whispering, “Do not take more than one tablespoon of gravy or else.” Unfortunately by the time the creamer made it to my husband, he had no choice but to extract the few dabbles of gravy left in the tiny pitcher with his tongue. Needless to say, we haven’t been invited back since.
It is no secret that sometimes life can be unpredictable. But with that said, I do know one thing for certain in a world full of change. On Sunday in my house, just like on every other holiday, the gigantic soup tureen full of gravy will once again replace flowers and candles as a centerpiece on our table. And as I clasp hands with those I love and stare at my potatoes swimming in glorious goodness, I know I wouldn’t have it any other way … except on biscuits. Yes, definitely on biscuits.
By Vicky DeCoster, All Rights Reserved