Breakfast of champions

Last night I got the inking done in time, if not in record time. I seem to be slowing down of late — on a good run an “average” row of Schlock Mercenary takes 20 minutes to ink, assuming no distractions, interruptions, or “really tricky bits.” Lately my average seems to be closer to 30 minutes, and it’s NOT because I’m adding more to the artwork or being more careful.

Anyway, today is for coloring, packing, scripting, and final prep for the trip. I thought I’d get it off to a good start, so I made breakfast — a real, down-home, southern-style breakfast like Momma used to WISH she could make but she was a southern transplant and just never caught on and besides she couldn’t cook.

(that run-on sentence felt good).

So, the menu: Biscuits and gravy, grits, basted eggs, thick-sliced bacon, and a tall glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice Diet Vanilla Pepsi. (No OJ in the house. Fie!)

I’ve long wondered what the secret was to the biscuit gravy they use at the Novell cafeteria. I THOUGHT it was the sausage, or maybe they were using bacon grease in it. On a hunch, though, I tried some new seasonings this time. Rather than just the usual fresh-ground pepper, I added some McCormick Poultry Seasoning, which is a blend of Thyme, Sage, and probably a few other aromatic spices. Naturally I sniffed the bottle first, and a voice in my head (probably in my sinus, just upstream from that bottle o’ spices) said “that’s the stuff. Dump lots in.”

The gravy tasted all wrong, right up until the point that it had cooled and been poured over a (Pillsbury “Grands”) biscuit, at which point I realized a had NOT ruined breakfast, I’d discovered the essential spice-blend for good biscuit gravy. W007!!11

(the juxtaposition of “biscuit gravy” and 1337 amuses me)

I wanted to take a picture of my breakfast to share with you, but Sandra has the camera in Pocatello. The thick, meaty, perfectly-seasoned gravy was spread over the two halves of a single biscuit. Laid half-on/half-off that delicious slop was a pair of basted eggs (it’s like a cross between “over easy” and “poached”), yolks unbroken and pink on top. Alongside this stack of carbs-and-cholesterol were three strips of thick, crispy bacon (the fourth got eaten while I waited for biscuits to cook). In a bowl adjacent to this heaping platter of heart-stopping goodness was a hearty portion of grits, topped with a pat of butter (not margarine… BUTTER, thankyouverymuch) slowly melting into a golden puddle of joy. For down-washings, there was a tumbler full of Diet Vanilla Pepsi just the way I like it — poured an hour ago, allowed to stand, no ice.

A few days ago Scrubbo said “Bad Cartoonist, no biscuit.” I didn’t end up having biscuits the next day, but this morning I made up for that in spades. Spades I tell you.

–Howard

38 thoughts on “Breakfast of champions”

  1. You’re making me hungry … when I was teaching in the Navy, every morning I’d stop off at the Navy Exchange cafeteria and get me a mess o’ biscuits and gravy. Good times, good times. 🙂

    My sweetie’s on the WW diet now, which means she could have ’em if I made ’em, but she probably couldn’t eat anything else that day. Can’t do that to her, can I?

    Now, that, good sir, is love.

    Meanwhile, I will dine vicariously through you, if you don’t mind.

    1. Where wuzzat? Millington?

      ‘Cause I don’t recall Whidbey having a decent mess o’ biscuits and gravy, ever, much less every morning.

      1. 32nd St Naval Station, “dry side” – the bowling alley. I did mis-speak. The Navy Exchange Cafeteria was avoided like the plague – this was the “canteen”. Sorry for the confusion.

      1. I think most people don’t like grits because they’ve had them plain.
        It seems around here (Texas) the canonical grits configuration is
        butter+sugar, personally I like maple syrup (by itself, with butter
        and sugar is IMHO a little gratuitous).

        A friend of mine () reported that out on the east
        coast she saw people putting shrimp and “crab gravy” on their grits.
        I suppost to each there own, but that sounds somewhat… disturbing.

        1. Grits with sugar? That’s Yankee food! Or so my southern belle sweetie informs me. (we have ’em that way up nawth too).

          :: blink ::

          You sure y’all’s from Texas, son?

          1. Born in Houston, lived here pretty much my entire life. 🙂

            What can I say, they’ve always brought butter and sugar when I
            order it here… I haven’t done a lot of eating in other parts
            of the south so I can’t say what they’d typically use.

          2. My sweetie (the southern belle over my shoulder) contends that Texas is a law unto itself, and therefore not subject to the ettiquette of the South. Or something like that.

            Life is so much simpler north of here. 🙂

        2. Grits as a rice substitute…

          The flavor of grits is such that you can use it as a substitute for white rice. Rice is good with butter and salt. So are grits. Rice is good with butter and sugar (think “rice pudding”). So are grits. Rice is good as a bedding for steamed veggies and stir-fried shrimp. So are grits.

          Me, I’m a butter-and-salt guy.

          –Howard

      2. I know what they are, HT. What worries me is that somebody would eat them. Or call them food. Or do anything with them except mortar bricks. Though Schlock would probably quite enjoy them.

          1. My take on Southern-style grits is that they eat ’em that way for the same reason Scotts eat haggis. Unwilling to admit – to anyone – what they really think about it.

          2. Amusing, but patently ridiculous

            My take on Southern-style grits is that they eat ’em that way for the same reason Scotts eat haggis. Unwilling to admit – to anyone – what they really think about it.

            That’s amusing, but patently ridiculous. Had I really felt that way about grits with butter and salt, I would not have chosen them for a breakfast where I was home alone doing all my own cooking.

            And haggis isn’t that bad. It’s like something a meatloaf sired on a sausage. I like meatloaf. I like sausage.

            –Howard

          3. Hole in my logic…

            And haggis isn’t that bad. It’s like something a meatloaf sired on a sausage. I like meatloaf. I like sausage.

            By extension, I should also like something that meatloaf sired on ice-cream. I’m not sure the argument holds up under scrutiny.

            But I did enjoy the haggis I had in Scotland.

            –Howard

          4. Re: Hole in my logic…

            Haggis is good microwaved….6 minutes of a splattered haggis with the metal clips removed, loaded with heinz baked beans…
            you’re good for 24 hrs with that.

          5. Re: Hole in my logic…

            Haggis that I had was rather bland. Not something that I would try again. It needed a good slathering of mustard.

            Now about the meatloaf/ice cream… I doubt that a cold sweet sauce would be good on meatloaf but a warm sweet cream sauce might be good.

          6. Re: Amusing, but patently ridiculous

            Rediculuous, unless you’re part of the conspiracy, of course 🙂

            Problem with haggis, sausage and software is that once knowing what goes into them, it’s difficult to enjoy them quite so much.

            I’ll take my grits either way (Yankee or southern) but I’m a bit picky on breakfast – I prefer my own cooking over any restaurant for eggs and grits.

            But that’s a book unto itself …

          7. Grits are mild in flavor; they are essentially a pleasant texture onto which one can overlay the flavor of some other condiment. As has been said, butter, salt, sugar and maple syrup are common for this.

            It’s no big deal. If being mild in flavor troubles you as a food item, then perhaps you are uniquely equipped to savor the delicious food item served in the Phillipines called “balut“. ];-)

            ===|==============/ Level Head

          8. Balut? Absolutely, positively not.

            I’m actually quite fond of grits, farina, rice, and oatmeal but the way my sweetie rolls her eyes when I put sugar and cream on my grits is just priceless. 🙂

          9. You know, traditional Japanese diners can be made queasy enough to lose their appetite at the Western notion of putting butter on white rice. I suppose they can get used to it. Or, like Ryk, they’ll lose weight. ];-)

            ===|==============/ Level Head

          10. I’ll take it however I can get it, though when I put butter on it I usually follow with cream and sugar. It makes an outstanding breakfast cereal.

      3. That’s half of it; corn grits are just course corn meal, hominy grits are made from corn soaked in lye for a couple of days before it’s dried and milled.

  2. I’m with Dennis Leary on this one: cholesterol-rich foods aren’t bad for you, because they make you feel so good that the stresses of ordinary Merkin life fade into a mild background static while you enjoy your heap of fatty, delicious, dairy-and-red-meat goodness.

    God bless red meat!

    Addendum: if you’ve ever been to Spain, you know that the hamburguesa completa is the perfect end to any great night: every source of cholesterol known to man in a conveniently hand-sized package, which comes with freshly-cut french fries made in pure olive oil. Ahhh, the life!

    1. ah, but olive oil is good for you. 😀 (you can justify most any indulgence in the world if you add olive oil and red wine. or, i guess in howard’s case concord grape juice)

    2. It is commonly misunderstood that cholesterol comes directly from food. It is a large molecule, and not actually easily absorbed by humans. We make most of it, 80% or more, from precursor molecules that are easy to absorb.

      “Cholesterol-free food” that would normally contain cholesterol has, in many cases, simply had the cholesterol broken into the precursor molecules. As I recall, a study showed that “Weight Watchers Cholesterol-Free Ranch Dressing” had the potential to be the highest source of serum cholesterol of any substance tested.

      And the more cholesterol in your diet, the less your body makes. It is a storage against hard times, and the evolutionary mechanisms are geared to that.

      I eat six eggs a day or so, on average, but I try to limit myself to no more than one major red-meat entré per meal. (In other words, I eat lots of steaks.) I have kept this pratice up for more than three decades, since I read early research on the topic in the 1970s.

      My cholesterol level is consistently less than 100, and less than half of what it was when I started. Most recently 88, with excellent ratios and triglycerides.

      Until we meat again! ];-)

      ===|==============/ Level Head

      1. Damn you and your scientific knowledge! Half the fun of the completa is how putatively bad for you it is (as well as how deliciously greasy, the better to cushion your stomach lining against the irritation caused by drinking many beers earlier in the evening.)

        1. Shimatta! I am sorry! Um…

          “I was not here. You did not see me. We did not have this conversation.” — The Guild Navigator to Emperor Shaddam IV

          ===|==============/ Level Head

  3. In my personal opinion, it is the sausage that matters.

    The only sausage I will use in biscuits and gravy is Bob Evan’s sausage.

    This is somewhat troubling as of late…because Bob Evan’s does not sell in Minnesota, where I have been transplanted as of 2 years ago…

    I’ve been experimenting with other sausage lately, but to no luck. All the other sausages out there are either too greasy to WAAAAY over spiced.

    1. You should try making proper sausage gravy from the ingredients in a typical California grocery store — say, the one just down the street from where I live.

      I have had to resort to making sausage gravy with hot Italian sausage.

      I have had to resort to liking it that way.

      On the other hand, I have also discovered that sausage freezes rather well. And that, although it sounds like an abomination, using whole wheat flour for sausage gravy does quite nice things for the flavor and texture; unlike the Italian sausage, I’d definitely recommend trying it.

  4. topped with a pat of butter (not margarine… BUTTER, thankyouverymuch) slowly melting into a golden puddle of joy.

    Seven words [and a sound-effect]:

    “Step away from the puddle of joy.” [Ominous HUMMMMMMMM]

    1. Okay, quick lesson in basted eggs.

      Break two eggs in a hot 9-inch teflon pan, preferably with a smear of butter already bubbly-hot in there.

      Cook for about 30 seconds. Maybe a minute.

      Take two tablespoons of water and add it to the pan. No, not ON TOP OF THE EGGS you nit. To one side. It should flash to steam pretty quickly. Don’t sit there watching it! Slap the lid on.

      Cook for another 45 seconds or so.

      When you’re done, the egg-white will be completely cooked, the yolks will still be runny, and a thin layer of egg-white will have cooked over the top of the yolks. That part will look pink.

      –Howard

      1. That sounds a lot like the way I cook eggs for huevos rancheros but my eggs have never been pink. Not even after I put tomato salsa on them.

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