Kentucky is gravy country.

Alabama is gravy country.

Texas is gravy country.

As you traverse the upper end of the South, make your way down into Dixie and then head out West to the Great State, you’ll find dozens of regional variations on this simple, humble sauce. We pour it over our chicken fried steak, we fry up Jimmy Dean sausage and make a gravy that’s perfect for our biscuits; and a bowl of mashed potatoes served without gravy? That might just find the cook on the business end of a rusty shank. Gravy is serious business.

I grew up eating gravy. The womenfolk of my family all made a giant batch each morning that they’d draw down on as the day progressed. Gravy was as omnipresent on our kitchen table as ice tea was in the fridge. Breakfast, dinner and supper all saw gravy playing an important role in our family’s cuisine.

But it took leaving my family home for a slumber party to discover what gravy could be in the hands of a {frankly deranged} home cook. My buddy BJ’s mom woke us up on that fateful Sunday morning with a big pan of Angel biscuits and a tureen of chocolate gravy. My denouement was upon me. Good lord that was some serious eating. I never looked at a bowl of sawmill gravy the same way again.

How in the world did chocolate gravy come into being and why is it considered a Kentucky dish? I turned to one of my favorite resources; The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America to see if I could gather gravy data.

The editors over that way hypothesize that the dish may be a result of trade existing between Spanish-era Louisiana and the Tennessee Valley with the traders bringing “Mexican-style breakfast chocolate to the Appalachians.”

No wonder I have such a deep love for the Pelican State.

Then the encyclopedia goes off the deep end and brings the Melungeons in on the discussion. For the 99.9 percent of you who have never heard of these people allow me to briefly elaborate. The Melungeons are a dark-skinned, mixed-race group of people of uncertain provenance. Since anyone in the mountain regions of Kentucky that isn’t lily white is the object of endless speculation as to their race, the Melungeons have been described as Indian, Portugese, Turkish, Lebanese and a host of other ethnicities.

They are also a possible, though the chance is distinctly minute, contributor to the chocolate gravy phenomenon of Kentucky via their association with the Spanish who’d settled on the nearby East Coast of the 1800s.

We could speculate endlessly on chocolate gravy’s historical antecedents {and already have} but by now you’re probably ready to hit the kitchen and make your very own batch.


1 c. sugar

3 T. cocoa

2 T. flour

1 c. of evaporated milk

1/2 c. water

* Mix dry ingredients

* Add wet ingredients

* Cook on low heat until thick {if too thick add a little water}

* Pour over hot buttered biscuits.

Bon Appetit Y’all

Recipe for Angel Biscuits

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