I was wondering what to make for lunch today, and I had a sudden craving for one of my father's favorite foods: bread and gravy. He grew up poor, born in West Virginia, and moved around the midwest as a child by his father, looking, apparently not very successfully, for work. My father sometimes described himself as a hillbilly, or 'mountain William,' though he had been away from the hills for many decades by the time I knew him. He loved what now looks like poor people's food: bread and gravy; fried cornmeal mush (perhaps that's polenta to you); scrapple. Stodgy comfort foods, which eke out small amounts of meat.
We generally don't have meat in the house -- our kitchen is no-egg vegetarian -- but I lapse on occasion. I had had a roast chicken delivered a couple of days ago. So I stripped the meat off the bones and boiled up the carcass, made a roux of flour and butter, poured in the hot stock, added salt and pepper, and made a thick gravy. I poured it over the white Wonder-type bread that my staff takes with morning coffee and afternoon tea.
While I cooked I thought about my father, and remembered our family's only trip, when I was quite small, to Fairmont, West Virginia, where he was born. We met his very elderly Aunt Veedie, who invited me to choose one of her crocheted doilies as a gift. I horrified my parents by selecting the only one that was not plain white -- the yarn was heavily splotched with purple and yellow. But Aunt Veedie was pleased, saying that she called it her Aurora Borealis doily.
Two slices of white bread smothered in chicken gravy, and it was so good.