Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And the Forecast is.....

The forecast last night called for blizzard conditions after midnight. I made plans to rise very, very early to help deal with the snow before the Farmer and our son left for work. Thankfully the blizzard failed to arrive, allowing me to sleep in. The house is incredibly cold this morning which means that the temperatures have plummeted again.

Last night was bunco night with the neighbors and talk turned to comfort foods. My neighbor Anne mentioned two of the all time favorite combinations, grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup and homemade macaroni and cheese. I was always shocked in the past when younger co-workers would mention things like Spaghettios or Kraft macaroni and cheese as comfort foods because when I was growing up there was very little food that came out of a box.

I recently cooked a wonderful pot roast from that cache of Black Angus beef purchased from a local farmer. I love beef roasts because they allow me to make plenty of gravy and in this house gravy is a beverage!

Now don't say ewwwww, because gravy isn't bad. Since my beef is very lean there's little fat, it's beef juices thickened with corn starch.

Here's the story of how the tradition of my favorite comfort food developed. My parents would occasionally make a large beef roast for dinner. I said occasionally because with four kids our budget didn't always include a cut of meat such as a roast. Of course on the first evening we'd finish all the beef and all that was left was the savory beef gravy.

So, the next day my siblings and I would heat up the gravy for lunch and serve it over soft white bread. Wonder bread was preferred. It was simply known in our house as bread and gravy.

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Fortunately for me on this day I had enough pot roast left to make a bread and gravy sandwich with beef.

Is it cold where you are? Have you resorted to your comfort food, or do you return to your comfort food when you're not feeling well?

35 comments:

belladella said...

Oh! We did this too. Wonder bread and gravy. We would use it to get every single last drop of it off our plates. I remember my dad doing this a million times. Mmmmm. Good memories.

Anonymous said...

Ah a subject I love...I grew up in the seventies on a wool sheep farm in Pennsylvania- I never knew what Ramen or pre-packaged food was until my teen years- which I profusely have to thank my maternal grandmother for shielding me from now. I love a winter crockpot of butter beans cooked overnight with a leftover ham bone from Sunday dinner. BTW- I wanted to mention that I tried your Low Country Shrimp Boil recipe for New Years Eve night and everyone LOVED IT. It will become a family tradition now with us...Thanks :)

Lucy said...

This brings back forgotten memories. I'd forgotten about gravy over bread. Loved it.

Rechelle ~Walnuthaven Cottage~ said...

We used to do that too! In fact I made a roast just last week and it was fabulous. To bad we didn't have any gravy or meat left :0(.
I feel kind of bad saying this, but it's not cold here at all today. It's beautiful with Santa Ana winds blowing down and we'll hit 88 today. I know, it's so not fair!
You stay warm and safe!

Anonymous said...

chicken and dumplings. cures anything for the worse cold to a broken heart.....bv

martina said...

Kozy Shack rice pudding is my comfort food when sick. Tastes just like Mom's and if I add raisins and a bit of cinnamon sugar it is like a food hug!

Mim said...

That looks yummy. It is cold down here in southern Illinios. And it's about to get much colder for a few days. I'm worried about my chickens. Cold, cold days make me think about stews, pot roasts, meat loafs. You know stick to your ribs kind of meals. LOL

Ps. I finished the book today, keep an eye out for a blog post on it. Also thanks for sharing, I want to buy ten of them and hand them out to family and friends!

Jill said...

Oh... a woman after my own heart! I love gravy - actually anything saucy. My husband can eat an entire loaf of bread if he's "sopping up the sauce..."

Wow is it cold there! I can't remember the last time I was in a blizzard. Can't say I miss shoveling sidewalks... though wading through poop water during monsoon season isn't fun either!

MeadowLark said...

That looks delicious!!! Although at our house "bread and gravy" usually meant hamburger gravy. Which I haven't made in ages... thanks for the reminder!

Heidi said...

Is -22 cold or is that considered mild? Wind chill is -29 1 degree away from calling off school.. The weather man is on drugs - he said its supose to get colder.. I officially hate him.

Bread and gravy is a staple!! LOL Anyone ever heard of milk toast??? HHHMMMM\
Glad you got to sleep in my dear friend - flannel sheets and hot coffee are on the bill for today! Oh and the ever present kettle of soup that I am required to keep on the stove for the frigid, frozen, crying mass's that tromp through the door....

Significant Snail said...

Mmmmmm, I do love some bread and gravy.

Linds said...

I grew up in South Africa, and we did this too! It was, and still is a real favourite. My Mum used to make wonderful stews in winter too, and they lasted a couple of days. The best was on the last day, using the gravy on bread. Sigh. I love these memories!

Sabina said...

What a kick - my parents served the same thing!! I'd forgotten about it. Food is so much more than just something to eat isn't it?

Happy New Year Suzanne!!

Ang. said...

I grew up on a hog farm. I think I ate my first beef steak after I was married. Mom didn't make gravy so we never did this. My husband does sop up the meat juices left on the platter with a piece of bread. He shares it with the kids but I pass. It holds no appeal for me.

Its cold here and the blizzard never happened for us either. Sounds like we will get another crack at some snow tomorrow.

Mary Rex said...

Yum. Gravy Bread. My mom would usually chop up a little of the roast to *beef up* the gravy. Being a veggie lover, even as a child, I would always want any leftover peas or green beans mixed in with the gravy on my bread. We had Milk Toast with cinnamon sugar as a comforting bedtime snack.

PamKittyMorning said...

Well like a bunch of people, yeah, love bread and gravy. Yum that dinner looks scrumptious.

Pieceful Afternoon said...

Chicken pot pie - hot and steaming from the oven. I make loads of them for the freezer after a holiday meal of turkey - just as good. I have 11 individual sizes and 3 group sizes in the freezer now - hmmmm I think I'll thaw one out and make some crust - just the thing for a drizzly PNW day.

Suzanne said...

BellaDella - I'm surprised at how food and smells can evoke such strong memories.

Anon - We didn't eat butter beans that I can remember but it sounds so good with a ham bone that I think I'll try it very soon. I'm really glad you enjoyed the Shrimp Boil. Besides being delicious, it's alot of fun.

Lucy - I'm somewhat surprised at the seemingly universal bread and gravy experience. HA.

Rechelle - I always try to make way more gravy than I could possibly need. Sometimes I stretch the gravy base with some soy sauce. I'm glad it's not cold there because I'm heading your way in four weeks!!

BV - Chicken and dumplings is another favorite. My stepfather made the most wonderful chicken and dumplings. My children still remember grandpa standing by the stove preparing it.

Martina - I've never heard of Kozy Shack rice pudding but now that you mention it my grandmother made a terrific egg custard rice pudding with raisins that was so terrific. It is a food hug.

Mim - Keep those chickens warm - but be safe. Unfortunately my great aunt Lilly died in a fire that was ignited by the kerosene heater used in her chicken coop. I'm glad you liked the book.

Jill - Sopping around sauce and gravy is a great dinnertime actiivity. Monsoons are NO FUN. My mom got caught in one in flight...midway between L.A. and Australia. It was terrible.

Meadowlark - Hamburger gravy? I thought I was the authority on gravy but I've never heard of hamburger gravy. Can you provide a recipe because I never met a gravy I didn't like.

Heidi - TWENTY TWO BELOW. You got me beat. I feel like a whiner now. Colder? Seriously, is that possible? That will be terrible because my neighbor will keep his diesel running nonstop if that happens. Milk toast is also a new one on me. As much as I LOVE dairy products, milk is not one of them. Give me milk in any other form.

SS - Here, have some....

Linds - Oh my gosh...it's a worldwide phenomenon. I just read a book about Africa.

Sabina - It is much more that just sustenance. It has many layers of meaning.

Ang - I can't imagine pork chops without gravy. But then again, my dad was a gravy nut. I'm sure as with anything you must grow up with the habit.

Mary Rex - Gosh - you gotta love a kid that loves veggies. We were actually older when we figured out mashed potatoes weren't orange because my mom would mash carrots in with the potatoes.

PKM - Oh my gosh...it was so good. I've got to go out to the farm and get some more pot roasts.

Pieceful Afternoon - A good chicken pot pie..homemade with real crust. YEAH. Not that stinking imposter that the restaurant in Macy's serves. It's quite a bit of work but if you do a whole bunch at once like you did, it's much easier.

Thanks everyone, for your food memories.

Suzanne

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

We did this in Iowa too... I still do it to this day and make my gravy the corn starch method as well. Yours looks pretty darn good!

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Elizabeth78 said...

Beef Gravy over bread sure brings back memories of my childhood too.
My Dad always called it:

WPA STEAK

I think that came from the work crews that the Fed. Govt. incorporated to give out of work men jobs in the early recession, after the WW II.

Comfort food in our house is pretty much the same year round.
Homemade Soup, Chili, various Pasta dishes, etc.

The "cardboard box" doesn't flow here!

Liz in PA

dara said...

Growing up I never realized we were poor. we NEVER had "fresh" wonder bread. It always came from the day-old bread store. I loved getting the bread there for our bread and gravy. If it was a good week in the budget my brothers and I could get one of the "almost expired" hostess pies. MMMMMMM I can almost taste is now - bread & gravy and a cherry hostess pie for dessert.

We were predicted to receive a ton of snow over here in Ohio, but only received a smattering but the tem is at 23 and should be going down to 7 shortly.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Yes, it's cold and we'd resort to comfort food if we weren't on this diggedy dog diet. No! No, we're not eating dog; we're eating 4 oz of turkey or chicken or lean meat...no gravy. Sigh. And, yes, we feel chilled to the bone a lot of the time.

Marilyn said...

Mmmmmmm pot roast.

Our favorite is homemade mac and cheese with a crunchy top :)

Lisa said...

It's going to get bitterly cold in RI over the next few days. Friday our high will be 1. Man! I have a roast planned and chicken soup with grilled cheese sammies, some oatmeal cookies, and ummm what else. Oh yeah I might attempt homemade granola bars. Brrrrrrrr!

rebecca homecca said...

I had a co-worker that whenever she mentioned "comfort" food it was the most over processed thing imaginable. I just thought, yuck. We had a lot of boxed mac & cheese and things growing up, but those things that bring me comfort are the home-made ones. Beefy Noodles made with leftover roast, my mom's breaded porkchops (to die for), home-made pizza (my dad made his own crust, no take out for us!).

LDF said...

It's hovering around zero here, and I had a mad urge for comfort food just last night. Made myself HOMEMADE macaroni and cheese with some ground beef added ... mmm mm! When I was growing up, we didn't have roast beef very often either, but we loved the gravy. My Dad used to make extra gravy for the day after and serve it on bread. I still love bread and gravy! My own kids & grandkids think that's just gross. I'm glad someone else enjoys bread and gravy.

Cottage Rose said...

Hey Suzanne; My Mom would make the gravy over bread when I was small. She always had home made supper for us, never fast food. That's how I cooked for my kids when they were still at home. Love the roast beef gravy and bread, yummy.

Have a great week. stay warm.

Hugs;
Alaura

Cindy La Ferle said...

Comfort food is one of my favorite topics of conversation -- thanks for bringing it up! And I love beef stews. I've tried several recipes, including a couple of really good ones in the Joy Of Cooking. I've adapted a couple of these and make a Boef en Daube in my slow cooker. The longer it simmers, the better it is. With a glass of pinot noir -- manifique!

Donna said...

I am so hungry now...

Thirkellgirl said...

The nighttime forecast for where dear daughter #1 is is -23F, so I'm trying *very hard not to complain about the 22F we've got! I grew up in Massachusetts and can do winter well. I require a pot of tea about twice a day, and almost anything that's simmered in the crockpot all day. We had grilled cheese a couple nights ago for dinner. :) Tonight we're having salsa chicken - cut up chicken breasts, 2 cans of black beans, a jar of salsa (or a can of Rotel, since my pantry is packed away because of our basement flood), sprinkled with a packet of taco seasoning. By 6 pm it will be falling apart and great over brown rice.

FarmHouse Style said...

You are speaking my language today :-) I may have to make a roast just for the leftovers.

Grilled Cheese and tomato soup is one of my all time favorites as well.

We are not going to get any snow here but the temps are going to be in the low teens by tomorrow... sounds like comfort food is just what we need.

Stay warm.
Rhonda

Lisa said...

When I was young, my parents would get canned roast beef at the grocery and make extra gravy to mix with it. My dad would make (the best) homemade biscuits, and that was dinner. Often the only side dish was mashed potatoes (with more gravy!!) Not exactly the healthiest meal, but comfort food is seldom healthy...

Anonymous said...

It's about 64 degrees here in California, but I'm cold. I'd never survive in your weather. I learned to eat bread and gravy from my great grandmother and love it! I'm very close to 65 years old, so I've been doing this a while now. I don't remember having bread and gravy at my mom's house, but must have. It was always meat/chicken, potatoes, veggie, salad there. She never made a casserole that I can remember. She did make the best meatloaf and mac 'n' cheese in the world. I know how she did it, but mine never tastes as good. I also make hamburger gravy and serve it over mashed potatoes. It's a family favorite. Just brown the ground beef and add a few tablespoons of flour to the drippings, leaving the beef in the pan. You might need to add some bacon grease or oil if you don't have enough drippings. Cook for a few minutes, then add enough milk to make a rich gravy. This needs tons of salt and pepper. So good...

bj said...

Good morning...when I am missing my mom the first thing I do is make a large pot of homemade chicken and dumplins'. She could make the very best and it was and still is my favorite meal of all times!
I hope you are feeling better and have a good stash of those pills for pain.
xo bj

Sand Flat Farm said...

We did the bread n gravy thing, too. We loved it - we could make a meal off of it. Along that same line, Mom would make a big pot of pinto beans or purple hull peas with lots of juice in em, and we'd do the same thing. Soak our bread in juice and throw some beans up on top! YUM!

Comfort foods - soft scrambled eggs, oatmeal, & butter fried toast with peanut butter (slap it on while it's hot and it gets runny. Then you can fold it over and lick around the edges of the crust when it oozes out!)