We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, January 25. 2015
All-White Winter Breakfasts
This is an annual re-posting.
The global cooling we are experiencing inspired me to consider some truly fine cool-weather all-white breakfast eats which are not easily found in Yankee-land. The good stuff that sticks to your
Creamed chipped beef on toast is the fine old Yankee version of the southland's biscuits 'n gravy. Both have done wonders for warming the hearts and narrowing the arteries of generations of American boys. Add some potatoes and you have the perfect meal for a lumberjack or hunter.
While apple pie is an old-time Yankee breakfast staple, it has been replaced long ago by eggs, toast, and bacon, maybe a chunk of fruit, and preferably home fries with ketchup on them. Not Heinz 57, though - it's not my job to feed John Kerry.
Some people eat cereal for breakfast. Why? Because Dr. John Kellogg, a health-food charlatan in the 1800s, told them to. Zero nutrition. Breakfast cereal is a fraud and a scam, unless it's plain grits or cream of wheat or oatmeal. The crunchy granola stuff? Well, I thought the guy who discovered that you could sell people plain water was a genius, but the people who decided to sell guinea pig food to humans was his creative equal.
(At Maggie's Farm, we are also fond of fish for breakfast, like the Brits. Kippers. Or a lighty sauteed trout someone has caught early, sprinkled with parsley. Or left-over broiled salmon.)
The chipped beef was always a boarding school standard, and half loved it and half barfed to look at it. It does look like vomit, but it's great stuff. It's a gourmet's delight, but nobody makes it anymore.
When I did my time south of the Mason-Dixon, a local favorite was hot dog gravy on biscuits. Grits on the side, of course. Everything white. Not a refined breakfast, just gravy made with supermarket hot dogs instead of sausage. A truly revolting flavor unless you grew up in the hills and hollers, but it will fend off hunger for hours. I prefer my Sabretts on a bun at Yankee Stadium. But other sorts of southern gravy, made with ham or sausage, are just fine. I won't presume to offer a biscuit 'n gravy recipe, because every Southern Mom has her own. Well, here's a Virginia one from someone's Grandma.
Biscuits 'n gravy, and grits. Serious food for the soul.
Image: New Hampshire chipped beef on English muffins - with home fries. They don't do grits up north (except in Italian homes and restaurants, where they like to call grits "polenta") and it's a damn shame. Good stuff.
Posted by Bird Dog in Food and Drink, Our Essays at 05:00 | Comments (68) | Trackbacks (2)
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Now Bird Dog - y'all Yankees may be able to make creamed chip beef on toast, but I'm tellin' ya, biscuits and gravy are a dish best made south of the Mason Dixon line. Please don't publish your Yankee recipe for red eye gravy!
Always appreciate Bird Dog's postings, and especially enjoyed the breakfast piece. Thought I would pass along something I picked up from our favorite cookbook full of great pictures and real American food..."America The Beautiful Cookbook"(Collins, 1990). Using it, by the way, my native Swedish wife learned to make the best apple pie that no one else has ever come close to equalling ! I learned that one of Thomas Jefferson's favorite breakfasts was something called Capitolade, which looks a lot to me like SOS made with chicken (and wine, chicken stock, etc.), which the book says he spooned over biscuits. Recipe's in the book. Yum.
I found a restaurant that serves decent chipped beef on toast, or sh*t on a shingle. My wife and daughter stacked the napkin container and everything else they could find in front of it, couldn't stand how it looked.
hahaha. Only an elite few can appreciate the glory of chipped beef on toast.
Biscuits and gravy (hot dog? nasty!) is heaven, and at any time of the day. Woefully, nobody here in Pennsylvania has heard of it, unless you drive to Altoona to Cracker Barrel. Not even the local Denny's has it (so their menu must be regionalized).
I always thought of it as beige food, btw.
Where I come from, "gravy" means milk gravy; you have to say "brown gravy" if that's what you mean. Everything is fried, and everything comes with gravy, because gravy IS the meal.
"drive to Altoona to Cracker Barrel" Oh man, that is stooping low, but sometimes a guy has to, to get the good country eats. But Cracker Barrel?
Having been born and bred in the south, I have to register surpirse at hearing about hot dog gravy! I have neither seen nor heard of it before. Yuck.
My ideal breakfast would consist of chicken fried steak with saw mill gravy, grits with butter and little cheese, scrambled eggs and some hash browns and biscuits to sop up anything left. If the waitress is a real southern gal, I'll find some molassas or sorghum syrup on the table next to the basket of biscuits. You can always find a nice place specializing in breakfast all around. Fast food is for steak biscuits or sausage biscuits on the run. Denny's is for amateurs. One of the best breakfast places the wife and I like is a little place near Maggie Valley, NC - right in the Smoky Mts. which sits on a mountainside overlooking a stream. Not only do they have the best country fried steaks and pancakes around... if you choose you can have pan fried trout for breakfast, that was most likely caught in that cold water mountain stream. To top it off you can eat on the porch sitting above that stream and sip hot chocolate (or coffee) will looking at a beautiful Smoky Mountain morning.
I've seen those fellas with the soft boiled egg on the stand and the spoon in the movies and always thought to myself... "what a sad little breakfast."
Same here! I am in my fifties and grew up with parents who came of age during the Depression and fed us traditional Southern fare: greens, hominy, grits, biscuits and gravy, etc. Never heard of this one!
By the way, a good read:
Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread & Scuppernong Wine: The Folklore and Art of Southern Appalachian Cooking by Joseph Earl Dabney.
American history, like many other things, is tied up in it's folkways and foodways.
Sorghum. There you go. And yes, I'm afraid biscuits and gravy are unknown, except for Cracker Barrel. I'm a Kentucky boy, though I spent most of my life across the Ohio in Indiana. But biscuits and gravy -- that's only sausage -- heaven. Ham (as in country ham) and red-eye gravy (that's made with coffee), and beaten biscuits.
I've been to Maggie Valley. Where we live now in Pennsylvania, up in the mountains, looks very much just like that. But they don't have biscuits and gravy. They eat scrapple (which is really nasty, and I was raised eating blood sausage and head cheese), and drink this godawful stuff called birch beer. Tastes like Tums. Oh, and there's this local specialty called "steamed cheeseburgers," but I haven't summoned the courage to even ask what it is, much less try one.
By the way, you do not want to try this for breakfast, or any other meal. It's one of the funniest things I've ever read.
Your neck of the woods must look beautiful this time of the year.
I will say this - years ago, it used to be when the wife and I were on the road outside of the south I would ask for grits just for a lark and receive either blank stares or stammering "Just what's on the menu sir." In recent years, I have actually had a waitress or two serve me up a bowl. Not the greatest, but decent. The whole southern breakfast thing must be gaining ground elsewhere. McDonald's recently announced they will serve breakfast all day. Their mcgriddle biscuits, etc. being among their best sellers. I remember when I couldn't even get a sausage biscuit outside of the mason dixon. Now they are everywhere.
By the way- your article was very funny. I can relate somewhat having lived in Brazil for several years. Feijoada is absolutely delicious, but very traditional feijoada will give any gringo pause. Check it out:
I'm smack dab in the middle of IN and many local restaurants turn out amazing biscuits and gravy. I lived in Atlanta for awhile '98 and if you didn't order a vegan breakfast you were afraid of being lynched.
Naw you can get it:
It's got a crunchy angle to fool the foody-persnickitista types, but it's the real deal. One of the few places around (in the middle of Atlanta) that will periodically feature chicken livers as an entree & the like.
Biscuits and Gravy is a staple at Bob Evans Restaurants in Ohio and elsewhere.
Oh. Forgot. Links don't show in comments. The URL is here:
Hoots, man! Nothing can beat a bowl of good Scots oats, lightlly salted, with good yellow cream, and brown sugar if ye have nothing beneath your kilt!
I was told once by an elderly gentleman near Stirling that good Scottish cream was sweet enough. Putting sugar on oatmeal was for...Sassenachs.
Haw--that Lutefisk story IS funny. Them Norwegians is a hard-headed bunch, if the national dish is horrible, they gonna eat it anyway.
Like the moose-hunting trip, five guys agree to draw straws to see who has to be camp cook, with the deal that whoever complains has to take the over the job.
The loser cooks a few days, miserable, and finally thinks up a way out.
He cooks up a moose turd stew.
The others come in from the bush, dig in, and scream, "Ahhhg! Moose turds! But GOOD, but GOOD!"
I've been working on a cookbook using THE definitve American food. Vienna Sausage. So far I've worked up about twenty recipes.
One favorite is vienna sausage stuffed with anchovie and covered with a carmelized Caro syrup....good eat'n.
Habanero stuffed viennas dipped in a semi sweet hog jowl and pineapple sauce can really get the party started.
Do you sear your Moose turds? They're also good as a whipped topping on angel food stuffed vienna sausage cake.
special note for gourmets..if you're cook'n up some of these dishes you want to allow the iron skillet to "season" so don't wash it for the first year, just whip 'er down.
Have you got a publisher yet? If not, let me recommend my cousin Elvin's little house, The Louisiana Prison System Off-Books Press. So far, sales are a little undeveloped, but overhead is as low as it gets. Any work related to Vienna Sausage will get a sympathetic critique, i'm almost certain.
Oh good, a "real" recipe for biscuits. I love this guy I am married to, but he loves biscuits and gravy, so we compromise he can have biscuits and gravy or___x
I am doing the best I can to keep him around for a long time!
Thanks for the recipe!
As Cloud says re his preference for cold cereal when Sun offers him a Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowl, "It's a cloud thing."
We used to call it Creamed Dried Beef, my number one fave when Pluto was a pup.
PLUS . . . For all white all the time, you might consider Creamed Turkey on rice. It's not just for boys any more:
Whoops. Correct URL for previous comment:
Creamed Dried Beef, yes.
NE lumberjack breakfasts were flapjacks & syrup - for morning energy; eggs and ham - for midday energy; and beans (pease porridge) - for late day energy. 5000 calories was the cook's goal.
Sleeping in a close-quartered bunkhouse sure helped get everyone up and moving in the morning.
ever put honey or molasses on scrambled eggs n sausage ? Mmm, boy!
"The crunchy granola stuff? Well, I thought the guy who discovered that you could sell people plain water was a genius, but the people who decided to sell guinea pig food to humans was his creative equal."
Zing! Best line of the week.
When I saw the picture, BD, I was going to make some snide remark about the "vomit on a plate", but you beat me to it, dang it. Go ahead, spoil ALL our fun!
When I lived Down East for three years, I was fortunate enough to date a girl whose local roots went back to the dawn of time. The single, best, most delicious meals I've ever eaten in my life were the breakfasts I had at her parents' house that looked 100% identical to the picture.
I've now lived in the South for four years, and have eaten my share of biscuits & gravy, but I only deem it "pretty good". Nothing like those meals I ate back then.
On the subject of food, though, I'm afraid I have distressing news.
Michelle Malkin is an A-List blogger, therefore it would stand to reason that an A-Lister would have more tasty, delicious recipes than some backwater site run by a bunch of boil-everything-for-dinner Yankees, right? Plus, she's a woman, and women obviously know a helluva lot more about refined, elegant cooking than us mere men.
Well, no sense in just talking about it, let's slap Michelle's recipe for "Snow Cream" out there for everybody to see! Then you'll see what I mean, when you compare her exotic ingredients to the common, old-fashioned ingredients found in BD's recipe:
Large bowl full of fresh, clean snow
1 cup of whole milk
1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of sugar
Mix milk, vanilla, and sugar until dissolved. Add to snow, stir until consistency is thick and creamy. Serve immediately.
Take a lesson, BD!
watch out for the yellow snow around tree trunks tho -- for some reason it tastes kinda uric acidy.
I believe the original from the old country was "Drippings on toast", to be followed up with a "Spotted dick" dessert.
Thank God America only speaks English.
I'm fond of this website. This B&G recipe is overkill for my daily needs, but it's worth filing away in case you're feeding a dozen hunters.
Let me also tout the Stouffer's frozen Creamed Chipped beef. It's not half bad, a there are times when nuking a batch of this while you make some toast is about all I'm able to do. On one of those bad nights it can really hit the spot.
"Boil-everything-for dinner Yankees?" Ever eat vegetables in the south? Never saw such boiling out.
Love this post.......have Pennsyvanian ancestry, so grew up with SOS (yum!) and scrapple (yum, yum! Just don't read the ingredients...I think it is one of those things you can eat only if you started young).....
Now, we used the terms "chipped beef on toast" and "SOS" interchangeably, but isn't SOS really ground beef in that same sort of creamy stuff?
Now live in the southern region and love grits (especially stone ground) and biscuits and gravy.
Hmmm, might have to whip up some SOS (the chipped beef kind) in this cold weather....thanks for the idea!
I'm a firm believer that "if it's good for you, it's not fit to eat." I have enjoyed everything you mentioned here and will continue to. My grandfathers lived their whole lives on bacon, eggs and cigarettes and lived well into their 80's. I don't smoke so I am not about to get worried about what I am eating. We are all going to die from something, it just as well be something we enjoyed.
In Texas, we love biscuits and cream gravy with crumbled sausage in it. I adore it. The biscuits have to be baking powder biscuits, and the cream/sausage gravy needs to be slathered generously all over the biscuits.
And there have to be second helpings available That'll hold you all day, if necessary.
I also love creamed chipped beef on toast, even though there are many people who don't. We use it as a light supper. And you can eat it over baked potatoes. Delicious.
Eating like that is going to make you fat Mrs. Matthews. ;-)
Not really, Ms.feeblemind. One of the few good things about being in your eighties is that your body has pretty much decided what size it's going to be, and it doesn't pack on the extra calories it eats. If you eat biscuits and cream gravy for breakfast, it doesn't want lunch. I find that I can't really tell if I'm thirsty or not, unless I concentrate. Or have a sip of water. Then I know. Same with food. Have to watch out with the water, however, since most of the year our climate is very hot and muggy, and it's easy to get dangerously dehydrated if you don't pay attention.
Then there's the fact that, many times by the time I get to the kitchen, I can't remember what I wanted.
Oh, dear. I shouldn't be telling you this. Don't want to discourage you from wanting to be in your eighties yourself, some day. It has its good side too.
When I was a teenager, I was 6'4" and 250 - straight muscle and played football as a full back. When I joined up, went through Parris Island I was down to 219 and after my second tour, was down to 186. I stayed there all through college, then started back up to 250 and have been there for 30 some odd years. I still run 2 miles a day and exercise, but that 250 has redistributed itself. :>)
My kids are always after me to lose weight, but I tell them that I was made this way and that's the way it is going to be. With a BP of 90 over 54 (average - it never goes higher than 100 over 60) at the ripe old age of 63 and decent blood chemistry numbers for cholesterol, I'm doing just fine thank you very much.
Just to be clear, I addressed you as 'Mrs.' as a token of respect. I knew you were in your 80s. That would make you the right age to be one of the moms back in the day when I was a kid, and my mother taught me to address the adults as Mr. & Mrs. One of the things I noticed on becoming an adult was that children aren't taught that anymore. Children always address me by my first name. Oh and BTW, my 77 year old mom will be pleased to hear she will stop gaining weight when she hits her 80s. She battles it now.
The only place I ran into creamed chipped beef was in the school lunch program. Hated it. In fact, it was the school lunch I hated the most.
My favorite breakfast is oats w juice of a lime, powdered milk w a touch of water, and sugar. Like having a key lime pie low cal style for breakfast.
Also eggs scrambled w vegetables, occasionally cheese. Potatoes chopped and nuked for the carb, throw in paprika, jalapeno and garlic for seasoning.
This post reminds me of my father's time serving in Korea (US Army). He was born and raised in southwestern Virginia, so biscuits and gravy was a common breakfast for him.
He didn't run into chipped beef on toast until he entered the Army. He told me that he & his fellow servicemen called it 'sh*t on a shingle' (as Santay also called it).
My mother, a Tennessee girl, used to make a fine skillet of gravy for biscuits and gravy when she still cooked. One habit I picked up from her was a slice of fresh, ripe tomato on the biscuits (w/ gravy over both). Mmmm. When tomatoes were out of season, we used a little tomato juice.
But what I really miss is her skillet cornbread made with coarse ground white cornmeal. And cold cornbread makes a pretty good breakfast itself, served in a bowl with a little milk poured over it.
Oh gosh - cornbread. I could eat cornbread until it comes out of my ears.
The Mrs. doesn't make it though - can't stand it. Fresh ground meal cornbread - nothing like it.
Darn it - first food thread that I really appreciate. :>)
I gained appreciation for SoS (chipped beef on toast) in the service. Along with a side of dehydrated eggs of all things. You can't find SoS around here in CT for some reason and even in South Carolina, which I visit regularly, it's difficult to find a place that serves it. Finally found one on this last trip and I was in seventh heaven. Still can't find dehydrated eggs though - nothing like a breakfast of SoS, dehydrated eggs and stale white toast - I can still taste those Danang morning meals 40 years after the fact - talk about breakfast staying with you. :>)
The only place around here that serves a decent sausage white gravy with biscuits is Cracker Barrel. Can't get grits though - I do like me some grits. Cheese grits in particular.
Dang it - now I'm hungry.
I blame BD. :>)
Don't know whereabouts in CT you live Tom, but the Windmill Diner in Danbury has fairly good SoS.
Which is about as far from me as you can get and still be in the same state. :>)
I once heard my father say that hotdogs and scrambled eggs were his favorite breakfast while growing up. When asked why hotdogs, he had a simple explanation. My grandfather raised hogs and had a smokehouse. Bacon, ham, or sausage was everyday food. Hotdogs were store-bought and therefore reserved for the occasional Sunday breakfast.
Always had SOS for supper, not breakfast, as a kid.
Definitely miss scrapple, as well as the Southern equivalent: Livermush.
I thought grits in the north was fried mush. It's grits, made in a loaf pan, sliced and fried. You eat it with golden corn syrup.
I cannot agree that cereal is a fraud and a scam. I am certainly aware of Kellog's strange ideas and I totally agree that there are health food charlatans still today. Food and nutrician is my hobby and I know what is in cereal and it is a reasonably good food.
My favorite breakfast is a Denver Omelet with a heaping side of home fries, pancakes and sausage links on the side.
But you will have to pry my Cheerios from my cold, dead hands.
Growing up in a Irish Catholic household, my mother would often make creamed tuna on toast for our Friday night dinners. Awesome stuff. Cheap and tasty.
During my early days in the Navy ( 1964 to 1984), s*it on the shingle was the name for ground beef in a tomato sauce served on toast. Chipped beef in a white sauce was referred to a " foreskins on toast ". Not much PC in the old Navy.
I've got my Grandmother's recipe for biscuits, but I've never really hit it. For one thing, she sorta estimated the measurements when she wrote it down. I don't think I ever saw her measure anything when she made 'em, she knew how many were to feed and sometimes she would just use her hand to scoop out the flour.
Her biscuits (this is lowcountry South Carolina) weren't the large-diameter thick ones common now; they were small and, importantly, shorter. Probably never much more than an inch high. And never bready or doughy inside; always flaky, almost like a cross between a biscuit and a pie crust or pastry shell.
She didn't make a white gravy; it was always "red-eye", which meant it was made from bacon and sausage drippings in the pan, pepper, maybe just a little bit of flour or corn starch to slightly thicken it, and coffee. There was never so much flour in it to make it white, though.
If you got up early enough you would catch Grandad making his own breakfast; he would eat biscuits left over from the day before and make scrambled eggs and would offer you, if you were brave enough, a scoop of brains to cook with the eggs. I don't know what kind of brains they were; beef or hog, but they would be in a tub at the bottom of the fridge with its own scoop Grandmom wouldn't allow to be used for anything else. She didn't like the brains.
Much of southern and western IL is like the South when it comes to breakfast. Might as well be the South most of the time except for the accents. [Hillbilly/WVA where I hail from]
I grew up on a hog farm, but I don't really eat breakfast much any more. One way to keep my weight down, I guess.
Anyway, my grandma never really measured anything, but she put lard in her biscuits rather that butter. Sometimes buttermilk, but usually not. This made them very flaky, I think. We made gravy [white gravy] with bacon, ham, or sausage grease.
Heck we put bacon grease in just about everything except dessert [and I have some suspicions about that].
I have lost some weight over the past year, but even before all my blood work has always been fine, so I'm pretty sure the nutritionists are wrong at least part of the time about fat, salt, etc. Perhaps it is bad for some, but they don't appear to be bad for all.
Thar's a passel of them thar "America The Beautiful Cookbook" s on Amazon for a buck or two. I gots mine.
Best breakfast in the whole world? Bacon, fried eggs, and a mess of little brook trout dredged in flour and fried in the bacon grease. Toast and jam and good coffee too. Preferably about 7 am with the sun breaking through the morning fog just before you head out to catch more brook trout.
Pantry staples at my house are little jars of dried beef, and cans of Spam. I never worry about what to fix for supper as long as I have dried beef and Spam on hand. I make dark buttery gravy for chipped beef gravy---on toast is my preference, but Husband likes it best on biscuits. Sometimes I brown an onion in the roux, for a little extra flavor. We never have it for breakfast, but like it on cold winter nights. Now Spam---sliced and lightly fried and served with biting mustard, cole slaw, and VanCamps pork-n-beans (or black-eyed peas). And a cold beer. Now that's good eatin'.
Love to see these reposts, but the link to a recipe for creamed chipped beef is no longer functional...
My wife makes fantastic biscuits. However, she had to explain once to my perplexed father (also a great cook), why the biscuits weren't properly round; they were square, rectangular, triangle, or odd shapes. My mother-in-law, smartly, believed round biscuits wasted too much time, with having to roll out left over dough into another batch of dough, that would again leave left over pieces of dough that had to be dealt with. My MIL and wife just roll out the dough and slice it with a knife into square, rectangular, triangle, or odd shapes instead of wasting time and effort making round biscuits; shape doesn't affect taste. I married well.
Polenta isn't 'grits'. Grits are properly made from dried hominy, nixtamalized corn. Polenta is made from ground plain corn, basically cornmeal.
'SOS' was my favorite army messhall breakfast. In lieu of chipped beef, the mess sergeant used browned ground beef.
I harbor the thought that the idea of the US Army, fueled by SOS, sitting in the Fulda Gap is what kept Europe free until they could grow enough of their own socialists.
SOS can still be had in SE Pennsylvania, basically below the Poconos to the North, above Philly in the south and maybe west to Lancaster. One of my and my stepdaughter favorites and my wife and daughter can't stand!
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As we quoted our crust consultant yesterday, eye-appeal-wise, yours was the most beautiful pie I have ever seen.Following Fannie Farmer's recipe for Plain Pastry [portions and instructions available at link] yesterday morning, we cut the butter into small pieces and
Tracked: Sep 25, 07:49