Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Charleston Gravy Train

I've been listening to Josh Ozersky being interviewed on Chris Gondek's University of Texas Press podcast about his book Colonel Sanders and the American Dream.  When discussing how difficult it is not just for KFC but for any restaurant to make good gravy, Ozersky says:
I'm a food writer who lives in New York City.  I eat out all the time.  And now we're in this wonderful lardcore renaissance and all these Southern chefs are trying to cook things here. None of them makes good pan gravy.  I haven't had a first-rate pan gravy since Sean Brock cooked chicken in a pan for me at Husk.
In other words, don't order gravy in New York. Come down here to Charleston.

1 comment:

NMissC said...

For starters, lard is not the answer to great gravy.

It's funny, given New York traditions like a schmeer of chicken fat, but the way I start the gravy that goes with fried chicken is a ladle full of the oil from where I've been frying the chicken. Not lard. A bit of chicken fat, browned stuff.

The other thing is how context dependent gravy is. That's completely different from what I do with the round steak in grillades and grits, a wonderful gravy.

And every time I try to upgrade the gravy I can make off-hand for roast chicken to something more sauce-like, folks here say they didn't see anything wrong with what I used to do.

I guess one lesson in all of this is that what southerners would call milk gravy, Escoffier what have called a barbarity, and what folks within driving distance of New Orleans would have called roux, he'd have said was burned. Conventional training may steer folks not raised on it as second nature away from the right results.

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