Ode to Biscuits & Gravy

Ode to biscuits and gravyI never order biscuits and gravy at restaurants, because there is no way it could compete with my dad's. At restaurants, it's often white and gelatinous, like creamed lipids, on a soggy biscuit. Not so with Dad's, which is rich and spicy and utterly delicious. I asked him once for the recipe. He gave me a blank look. So I watched while he made it. This is what he used, at least on this occasion:

Cream of mushroom soup, mushrooms, white wine, garlic powder, Worcestershire, evaporated milk, and — this is the key — Bradley's Sausage. (Note: Bradley's is an old-fashioned general store near my hometown of Tallahassee. They make their own sausage. It is the best I have ever had, and always will be.) This sausage gravy is brownish yellow, with flecks of red and crumbly lumps of sausage. It's filling and addictive and an almost perfect meal, especially when ladled over a split-open, steaming, flaky, buttery, Southern-style biscuit.

Which brings me to the biscuit.

Here are the things a biscuit should not be: dry, soaked with butter (probably hiding something), too large (takes up valuable space best devoted to things like bacon), cold (duh), doughy. I realize some folks would debate me on that last point, but I have the benefit of being right.

And here is the thing a biscuit is allowed to be: frozen. Mary B's is a good brand. If you are an incorrigible purist or a martyr or work at Bojangles, fine, make your own biscuits. But me, I've got gravy to make. —Richard Thurmond

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