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Living High on Grits and Tomato Gravy

By Stephanie Boles (josette63July 27, 2011
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An economical meal that tastes wonderful is a good thing. Growing up in the South, we ate grits, tomato gravy and cathead biscuits because it was an economical meal. I thought we were poor; now I realize how rich we truly were.

Gardening picture

(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on June 15, 2009. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)

Is there anything better than grits and tomato gravy in the morning? Like most southerners, I like my grits. But add a helping of tomato gravy and a baking powder biscuit, cathead size of course, and that is the perfect breakfast. So this summer when the tomatoes are coming on so fast you are at a loss as to how to use them, make an abundance of tomato gravy.

I recall growing up in Florida with particular affection. The long, lanky pines which surrounded our country home were more like companions to me than trees. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed the woods. I had to learn to enjoy the woods, since we lived 32 miles from town. And we--like many other families--were on a tight budget so we stuck close to the house.

Because of that tight budget, we ate simple fare. There were times I complained about the food which my mother put on the table. I had no idea just how wonderful a pot of collard greens, freshly picked from the garden and cooked, truly was. Nor did I realize the simple joys to be had in a hot-buttered slice of cornbread. Now, biscuits I could relate to. Ah, to jab your finger into the side of a fat biscuit and then fill the resulting hole with syrup, honey, molasses or even jam. That is 'good eating' as we used to say. But sadly, I never appreciated tomato gravy with my grits. At least I did not until I was an adult and cooked up some grits, tomato gravy and cathead biscuits for breakfast one morning. After that day I was hooked. I also came to appreciate the simple fare we ate growing up. Not only because it is 'good eating', but also because it is economical to prepare. And with the cost of everything going up these days, an economical meal that tastes wonderful is a good thing.

Years later, I married a Midwestern farm boy and moved to the Midwest. He had never tasted tomato gravy before he met this southern chick. The first time I cooked tomato gravy and grits for my husband he fell in love with me all over again. I added a cathead biscuit and that man was wholly devoted to me for life. Whenever I need something done around the house I forgo the honey-do list. Instead I make cathead biscuits and offer them in trade for the chores! My Dear Hubby has vowed to sop up tomato gravy with me until the end. 'Sop up' in Deep South vernacular means to soak up gravy with your cathead biscuits.

Image Image 

 Fresh, delicious tomatoes

 Chopped tomatoes

How to Make the Tomato Gravy Breakfast

As gardeners we can make tomato gravy from fresh tomatoes. You can use any red, ripe tomatoes of the larger varieties. You may use two cans whole or chopped tomatoes in place of the fresh. Remember to reserve the juice. Some folks like to add minced shallots to their tomato gravy; I do not.

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Tomato Gravy Recipe

1 pound bacon
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 cups peeled, chopped tomatoes with juice reserved
Salt
Ground pepper

Cook the bacon in a skillet or iron pan until done. Remove bacon and drain excess drippings from pan. Break up several pieces of bacon and drop into pan. Place remaining bacon on a serving platter for the breakfast table. Sprinkle flour into the drippings and stir until it is bubbly and brown. This takes about one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and juice and simmer until thickened. This will take about ten minutes if you use fresh tomatoes and five minutes for canned. You may season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over hot grits or biscuits. Tomato gravy is also good with other dishes--try it with fish.

This recipe will serve 4 not-so-hungry folks. If feeding real hungry folks, cook twice as much.

Add Grits and Cathead Biscuits

ImageThere are a variety of grits on the market. Regular grits are my favorite, but it is sometimes difficult to find them where I live, so I use quick grits. Cook the grits according to the package directions.

ImageFor cathead biscuits, you may use any good baking powder biscuit recipe. To turn them into cathead biscuits, you cut them extra big. Make them the size of a huge Tomcat's head.

I hope you enjoy making tomato gravy, grits and cathead biscuits as much I do. But more than this, I hope you enjoy eating them as much as my family does. 

I am glad for my simple childhood. It taught me to value people rather than possessions. But it also taught me to appreciate the simple joys of good eating. We share this breakfast at least once a month on my family farm. And that is living high on grits, tomato gravy and cathead biscuits.


Photo Credits
My farm kitchen

Links
Cooking Discussion Forum at Dave's

Image Pleasant gardening


  About Stephanie Boles  
Stephanie BolesStephanie is a Floridian, transplanted to Missouri and married to a Missouri farmboy. She is a mother who enjoys the farm, teaching Sunday school, working as a church musician and a freelance writer. She spends a large part of her time helping the DH on building/remodeling their house. She designs the gardens and her DH helps to landscape them. She makes old fashioned bed dolls in her spare time. She is currently working on a historical romance book series. The first book of the series will be available for purchase in spring 2010. Book 2 in the summer of 2010.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
Amazing info! From Colorado! BobinCO 0 0 Jul 26, 2012 12:46 AM
MMMMMMMmmmmmmmm!!!!!! moonrose777 0 5 Aug 1, 2011 7:22 PM
Transplanted Yankee ellekaybee 0 3 Aug 1, 2011 9:58 AM
Tomato gravy and southern memories annhelen 0 9 Aug 1, 2011 9:41 AM
TOMATOE GRAVY, SUNDS GOOD TO ME dordee 0 4 Aug 1, 2011 8:29 AM
Tomato gravy-just a slight bit healthier CTester 20 166 Jun 12, 2010 1:46 AM
Grits - Tomato Gravy Deanie_J 0 11 Jun 26, 2009 10:28 PM
Tomato Gravy and Heart Health eskarp 1 54 Jun 19, 2009 4:48 PM
GRITS tonyc49 2 33 Jun 17, 2009 7:41 AM
Yummm! joy112854 1 50 Jun 17, 2009 1:14 AM
Sunday Dinners at my Aunt's, fivelblue 0 18 Jun 16, 2009 5:24 AM
You're Making me Hungry!! elnell 0 9 Jun 16, 2009 4:30 AM
Grits and Tomato Gravy fullhousefarm 1 47 Jun 16, 2009 3:58 AM
Simplicity Rules! azruss 0 23 Jun 15, 2009 6:05 PM
Tomato Gravy shade2shadow 1 57 Jun 15, 2009 5:55 PM
Grits and .... jomoncon 1 40 Jun 15, 2009 2:53 PM
Memories Rene10 0 28 Jun 15, 2009 1:27 PM
Tomato gravy marvilene 0 46 Jun 15, 2009 12:50 PM
a mississippi memory gardenhippie 0 45 Jun 15, 2009 12:34 PM
Yummm! Potagere 1 56 Jun 15, 2009 11:50 AM
:) GardenGuyKin 0 41 Jun 15, 2009 11:45 AM
Good eating can2grow 1 57 Jun 15, 2009 11:19 AM
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