Which brings me to today's topic: gravy.
What is it about gravy? (Isn't it a dopey word when you start thinking about it? "Gravy". I had to take a moment to satisfy my curiosity and look up the word's origins. Turns out it's from the Latin granatus, "having many grains". Hmmm.)
Okay, back to topic. Why is it that the thought of making gravy strikes terror into the hearts of so many cooks? It's got to be one of the easiest things in the world to prepare, and yet I have been witness to more bungling, panic-stricken, cluelessly inept attempts at gravy-making over the years than I care to remember. At no time of the year is this travesty so apparent and so acute as at Thanksgiving.
So this year, I am going to do something I've threatened privately to do for a decade or more. I am going to provide a tutorial on How to Make Gravy. I'm determined it's going to happen. In fact, I'm even going to show you two ways to make gravy. And it's simple. So no more whining!
It won't be today, or even tomorrow. But shortly. I need to know you'll be ready. So here's your assignment. Go to your cupboard and make sure you have the magic ingredient. It's called cornstarch.
If you don't have any, trot yourself down to the grocery and get it forthwith. How can a kitchen function without cornstarch? Now I ask you! Harumph!
If you're a newcomer to cornstarch, go to your baking aisle. It will be in a box or a can near the flour, probably up beside the baking powder and baking soda. You can also find it sometimes in the bulk section if your store has one of those. It's a cheap ingredient, so don't panic. And, if you don't already have one, grab yourself a wire whisk while you're at it.
Now, my mom has made gravy with nothing fancier than a fork for decades, but she is made of stern stuff, resisting kitchen "gadgets" with a passion and much prefering to do things the hard way. She may have mellowed with the years, but as she lives across the continent from me, I haven't actually watched her cook for a very long time. But be that as it may, you and I, my friends, are going to use a whisk. It's so much more efficient.
Tomorrow I'll continue this rant and vent the accumulated trauma of years, telling you horror story after horror story about--not only gravy making--but holiday cooking disasters in general. I hope you're up to it.
*Dare I refer to it as "getting loaded"?