Gut Rumbles

August 27, 2003

spare me from the ignorant

I can't believe it. America is so much like our forefathers that some things should just be UNDERSTOOD! But they aren't.

I am sorry to announce that lionel Mandrake has no clue about what a Southern supper with "all the fixins" might be. He needs to be dragged off and shot.

Let me explain. If you have fried chicken, the "fixins" are mashed potatoes, gravy, cole slaw and baked beans. If you have steak, the "fixin's" are a green salad, baked potato, sour cream and lots of butter. If you have Spotted Dick, there ain't a "fixin'" in the world you can offer with that. No wonder a Brit can't grasp the concept of "fixins."

Down South, we have "fixins" with our meals. For breakfast, we have eggs. The "fixins" are grits, bacon, toast and sausage, with good sawmill gravy tossed in for good measure. For lunch, we might have a hamburger, with "fixins" such as lettuce, tomato, cheese and all the goddam Vidalia onion slices you possess. For supper (we don't eat "dinner" down South) you might see a plate of grilled fish, with "fixins" such as fried okra, stewed tomatoes, potato-cakes or rice.

Damn, Group Captain, sir. Where I live, if you invite people to eat, they ask, "Whatcha cooking?" When you tell them, they ask "What kinda fixins ya got?"

That's just the way we do it Down South. Our "fixins" are important to us.


"I'm fixin to call KFC and have 'em deliver fried chicken with all their fixins."

Posted by: McGehee on August 27, 2003 06:08 PM

Actually, snooty Southerners do have dinner. It might be lunch, and it might be supper, depending on which is the bigger meal.

And even unsnooty Southerners sit down to Sunday dinner.

Posted by: Brett on August 27, 2003 06:16 PM

Damn! You made me hungry. I haven't had Okra in years. At least, not made properly.

Can I come have supper at your house?

Posted by: drc on August 27, 2003 06:35 PM

That'll fix 'im!

Posted by: Jay Solo on August 27, 2003 06:43 PM

Damnit, every time you talk about Southern cooking, I get hungry.

Time to roll out the grill and find out where in hell I put my cumin and pasilla.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on August 27, 2003 07:05 PM

amen brother

i live in denver, and the first time i went an ordered BBQ by wife had to restrain me from killing everybody in the resturant...

they just dont understand


Posted by: Jim on August 27, 2003 10:42 PM

Sunday "Dinner" is served around 1PM.

The left overs are placed on the stove, and covered with a table cloth.. they are then re-visited at supper time, along with a glass of cold buttermilk and a piece of cornbread..

and cornbread does not have sugar in it

any cook who puts sugar in corn bread is in danger of losing their immortal soul


Posted by: Jim on August 27, 2003 10:45 PM

Okay, I'll bite. Maybe it is something that you NORTHERN southerners have that we don't, but what is sawmill gravy? We always had red eye gravy with our grits. From the recipes I'm seeing on the web, it is just sausage gravy, and that is a damned shame.

Even here there aren't too many places to get red eye gravy. Just not enough people eat country ham anymore. Salty ham drippings and black coffee. It doesn't get any better than that for grits.

Posted by: Phelps on August 27, 2003 11:39 PM

Sawmill gravy is made with the leftover grease after frying meat. You add flour, milk, salt and pepper, then stir it until it gets thick.

For extra points, you can add some diced onions and chopped tomatoes. Goes DAMN well with a slice of ham, eggs, and GRITS first thing on a cold morning. Or, ham and eggs with the fixin's, if you prefer. Oh, and biscuits. You can't have sawmill gravy without biscuits, it's a crime punishable by death.

Jeebus, I'm a yankee and I knew that.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on August 28, 2003 12:00 AM

Sawmill gravy is also what some call 'country gravy,' Outside of the south, (I was born and raised in Texas), they try to cook gravy with water and chicken stock out of a can.
I have been served this liquid parading as gravy in colors of green, yellow and varying shades of white. Without the milk, flour, and meat drippings, it is NOT gravy--it's trash can fodder.
1. Cook meat. Separate meat from drippings.
2. Save drippings
3. Get a jar. Put 1 cup milk, pepper, 1 tsp. of flour.
4. Put lid on jar. Shake.
5. Heat drippings in frying pan on stove.
6. Slowly add liquid and flour mixture.
7. Stir.
8. Keep stirring.
9. Perfect gravy. Never add flour directly to hot drippings or you get lumps.
If you want it thinner or thicker, adjust your flour or milk mixture by repeating step 3.
Add salt, pepper to taste.

Posted by: Katherine on August 28, 2003 02:39 AM

Hmmm I'm thinking my family must be southern at heart, because your descriptions match almost every family meal I can remember growing up (even though I'm so close to the wisconsin border
I can smell the cheese.) Fixin's for bratwurst is onions, brown mustard, saurkraut, and potato salad.

Posted by: Graumagus on August 28, 2003 05:17 AM

The term was "thickenin' gravy" in North Alabama and Mississippi.

Posted by: Brett on August 28, 2003 07:16 AM

Rob! You forgot the BREAD. Either biscuits or cornbread. If you're uppity, good rolls. But a meal without bread is unthinkable.

Posted by: Kevin Baker on August 28, 2003 09:00 AM

Seconding Kevin - fresh biscuits (hopefully made with lard) are required for breakfast (and most any other meal too). You also failed to mention barbecue and cole slaw. And despite being vegetables, you also need fried okra and butter beans.

Posted by: Cracker Barrel Philosopher on August 28, 2003 09:08 AM

Hi again. Second comment today.

I haven't figured out how to print out recipes from your comments, so need you to make them available higher in yer site.

I am a Calif. Constitutionalist (rare breed), who is going to bail as soon as we can retire.

Haven't had collard greens in a restaurant since leaving Norfolk, VA in 1965, or okra since 1966 (in Rhode Island, of all places!)

Am in desperate need of a real food fix! All donations greatly appreciated!


Posted by: Dale on August 28, 2003 12:00 PM

The "fixin's" for a good steak is some salsa, some pinto beans, sourdough bread toasted on the grill with some garlic butter and a beer.

But the real question is why you bother to talk food to a Brit? They ain't educable on the subject.

Posted by: Robin Roberts on August 28, 2003 12:17 PM

Now, now. Don't shoot Cap'n Mandrake just because he doesn't understand Southern cookin'.

Invite him to dinner and learn him some.

Posted by: Sigivald on August 28, 2003 03:08 PM

Can't quite decide - though I lean toward the "t" - if cranberry sauce/jelly with turkey is fixins or trimmins.

Posted by: John Anderson on August 29, 2003 12:33 PM

Oh, come on now, Y'all !

Real sawmill gravy is made with white cornmeal instead of flour, hence the name.

Feels like it's got sawdust in it, but it's mmm-good. Try it ! You'll like it !

Posted by: Jim Gibson on November 7, 2003 09:16 PM
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