Breakfast

breakfast-in-appalachia

Breakfast

My parents were up early, as there was a lot to be done in the day. We had a wood cook stove that Mother had to heat up in order to cook breakfast. Coffee, the first priority, was set to perk on the stove. After his coffee, Daddy went outside to do chores, such as milking, feeding the hens, and cleaning out pens. Mother baked biscuits, and cooked one of the breakfast staples, such a fried streaky meat, sawmill gravy, sausage, bacon, fried eggs, cheese omelets, grits, fried ham, red eye gravy, sausage gravy, and in the winter, oatmeal. On the weekends we might have pancakes, waffles, or dried chipped beef in milk gravy. It all depended on how the chickens were laying and what meat, if any, we had. We prepared fried eggs in the old-timey manner. If we had fried bacon, its grease was left in the skillet and an egg broken in; then whilst the egg was cooking, the grease was spooned on top. This cooked the egg just enough, so it was perfect in looks and taste.

“Mountain Born” – Jean Boone Benfield

—————-

These days most folks don’t eat a big daily breakfast like Ms. Benfield did in her youth, at least we don’t. I usually eat a bowl of corn flakes, the girls eat oatmeal, and The Deer Hunter, well I don’t know what he eats since he leaves for work earlier than I do. Our big breakfasts are relegated to weekend mornings or cooked up for supper one night during the week.

It’s also true that most folks don’t do the work after breakfast that Ms. Benfield’s family did in those days.

Tipper

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    Jerry
    April 17, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    My mom use to make mush to fry up for breakfast. It is a simple cornmeal dish that sits overnight to firm up and then is sliced and fried. We didn’t have much back in those days living in the country, but we always seem to have cornmeal, flour and sugar. My mom would make up a heated sugar/water mixture for us to pour over the fried mush. We had chickens to supply us with eggs and we would butcher a hog and a calf in the Fall and store the meat at the “meat locker”. Never had cereal as a child – only oatmeal.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 16, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Tipper,
    I think I’ve told this one before…but one of the best breakfast meals from my youth was my Dads cooking…He would get up early and shuck some corn, cut it off he cob and cream it in an iron skillet with butter, cream and seasonings. He could make the best and lightest biscuits. Then he would slice up big red garden tomatoes…We had creamed (gravy like) corn on buttered biscuits and sliced tomatoes…some times he fried bacon, Spam or streak meat…It was so good…and stayed with you until up in the early evening…A very hardy meal for sure…
    I have to have eggs, either fried, omelet or scrambled…bacon or sausage. Biscuits if I’m in the mood and usually quick drop biscuits…or iron skillet stove top biscuits…grits n’ gravy or fried tater cubes…Blackberry jam, sorghum molasses or honey…most of the time it’s honey for I haven’t made any new blackberry jam in a while…
    We have Goldenrod eggs often for breakfast and a lot of times for supper. When boiling eggs for egg salad, potato salad etc. I always boil extra…for deviled eggs and to make Goldenrod eggs…I make a white sauce, let it thicken, and then slice or grate one and half eggs per person in the sauce, make some good toast…we crumble it and pour our sauce over it…and grate eggs on top too if you want. I have put some cubes of left over ham in with the sauce too, to use up a piece of left over ham…I grew up eating Goldenrod eggs…everyone who ever ate it loves it…
    Thanks Tipper,
    I am getting so hungry…

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    April 16, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    It’s whats for supper tonight!!!

  • Reply
    Ken
    April 16, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Tipper,
    I never did make that Gravy and Biscuits, but I found some Baked Beans and I made cornbread fritters on top of the stove.

    I wrote about Lonnie Dockery earlier but something happened. Anyway, I was listening to the Party Line on our Gospel Radio station, and someone requested a song by Vince Gill, “Go Rest High on that Mountain” for Lonnie Dockery. Thank you for introducing him several years ago. I miss him, he was a good friend. …Ken

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    April 16, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    We love a country breakfast too, and like you, especially on a chilly night. My grandmother used to fix fried chicken or fried fish for breakfast often and it was wonderful. I still crave a couple of medium size catfish with hominy (grits) and eggs.

  • Reply
    quinn
    April 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    It’s been strong wind and freezing rain here ALL day, after a couple of inches of fresh snow last night. I was just thinking about what I could make for supper tonight, as a sort of “lure” to get me through evening chores (when I will get soaked and chilled all over again). I think its going to be eggs and bacon – real comfort food which I rarely have for breakfast.

  • Reply
    Yecedrah Higman
    April 16, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    I make my chocolate gravy using one cup of granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons of flour then add two heaping tablespoons of powdered cocoa then add just enough water to cover and bring all to a boil and reduce heat simmer until thickened. You can add vanilla extract to it if you like. Spoon over hot home made biscuits and it is just awesome.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 16, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    The trouble with buying pork these days, especially bacon, is that it is like rolling dice. All to often it has that strong, musky smell when frying and then worse it tastes that way to. My Dad would say they made the hog mad before it was killed. Then if the glands are not removed the musk permeates the meat. Of course little details like that are too tedious for high speed production efforts.

    • Reply
      Lee Mears
      April 16, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      Been having same trouble esp with the loins. They are terrible smelling half the time; one of my children’s favorite meals with sauerkraut, potatoes and turnip greens. . The pigs are raised in horrible, pitiful conditions, some cant even lay down….so I dont know. ?

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    April 16, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    My aunt Merrill made gravy for us once. She had run out of flour to make gravy but said she could make it using corn meal. It was good but not quite as good as gravy made with flour. It had sort of a gritty texture to it. Aunt Merrill called it sawmill gravy and told us that when she was a kid during the depression her mother would mix sawdust in with the corn meal to make it go farther. She said that was why they called it sawmill gravy.

  • Reply
    Ron Seals
    April 16, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    In 2009 I learned that I had several conditions that forced me to avoid grease and salt. When I went to my mother’s house, (She was raised in a Tenn. mining camp) not to cook my eggs in bacon grease. She looked at me as though I’d lost my mind.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 16, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    Tipper, I love breakfast food and I like it best for supper! There is nothing better than bacon and eggs with biscuits and gravy, so good it’ll make you slap your granny!

  • Reply
    Ken
    April 16, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Tipper,
    It Snowed for several hours this morning, but didn’t lay. My little dog, Whisky, didn’t need to go out until I was ready to come to the shop. Guess he figured he’d just hold it for awhile longer.

    All this breakfast talking about gravy and eggs makes me Hungry, even Chocolate Gravy like Mama use to fix. We had a wood Cookstove too, as well as a wood heater in the Living Room. …Ken

  • Reply
    Glenda Montgomery
    April 16, 2018 at 10:38 am

    A popular restaurant offers sawmill gravy, but it’s not what we had for Sawmill gravy.
    Mom and grandma made it with corn meal. I was told that the mountain men worked at lumber camps and always made their gravy with cornmeal. Thus it was called sawmill gravy.
    I make it to go with pork chops or chicken for supper. But love it for breakfast with eggs scrambled , bacon and fried potatoes. And hand choked biscuits.

  • Reply
    Robert Barlow
    April 16, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Mom cooked on a wood burning stove; when mom and dad got up, dad would get the fire going in the stove then he would go milk. We were milking 4-5 cows so by the time he had milked, fed the cows, hogs and horses and was back in the house, breakfast was ready. It always included some type of pork from the hogs we had slaughtered, eggs, gravy and biscuits. Every now and then mom would fix my brother and I some oatmeal. Always a big, hardy meal.

  • Reply
    harry adams
    April 16, 2018 at 9:51 am

    A program on tv had someone “inventing” a container to throw bacon grease away. How stupid the American people have become. We save all bacon grease to use in soup, cooking grease, etc. Lard is actually easier for the body to digest than the cooking oil industry wants to sell.
    I remember eating breakfast at my grandmother’s once when real young. I can still see those big biscuits and Pa drinking his black chicory coffee from a saucer on the heavy restaurant style china.

  • Reply
    aw griffgrowin
    April 16, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Some mornings I go early and fix breakfast for my 91 yr. old mother. She always has fried bacon and eggs fried in the bacon grease. She ust to make homemade biscuits, but me not being good at that, fix toast. Bacon and eggs must be good for you.

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    April 16, 2018 at 9:37 am

    I forgot grits! You got to have a mound of pretty thick grits on your plate/platter. You take a spoon and use the back of it to make you a little pool in the top of the mound then fill it with, you guessed it, gravy!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    April 16, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Granny sometimes had salmon patties for breakfast –I’d have to pass on that. Her usual breakfast included eggs, sausage, biscuits & oatmeal. Grandpa ate lhis oats in a serving bowl with black pepper and salt. Strangely I don’t remember gravy at Grannie’s.

    Mama was a champion gravy maker–she always used a can of evaporated milk in it. She made biscuits with her hands and a couple of them would keep you full. We all loved fried baloney or fried hot dogs for breakfast–that was a treat for us. Fat back fried crisp is something I still love but it’s hard to find now.

    We had a big breakfast yesterday. We enjoyed it better than steak!!

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    April 16, 2018 at 9:32 am

    You know what else is good for an old fashion country breakfast like that? Fried taters! Covered with gravy! And scrambled eggs! Covered with gravy! And split biscuits! Covered with gravy! The only problem with all that is they don’t make dinner plates big enough. Do the rules of etiquette allow for eating out of a serving platter?

  • Reply
    Shirl
    April 16, 2018 at 9:02 am

    An elderly lady grabbed a pack of lunch meat from the shelf as I was reading nutritional information on a pack I was about to buy. We started talking about food we used to eat and how our relatives lived long, healthy lives while feasting on several eggs daily and frying all their meat in lard. Daddy used to say the preservatives they are adding to our food and water is killing us. I believe that.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 16, 2018 at 8:51 am

    I love my eggs fried in bacon grease and spooned over the top, yum of course with our lifestyles now it would not be healthy

  • Reply
    Ann Appplegarth
    April 16, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Oh, my! Dried chipped beef in cream sauce! I haven’t had that in half a century — but I still remember how delicious it was. And the lovely aroma of bacon frying was what greeted me every morning of my childhood the moment I opened my eyes. I have occasionally joked that the only thing I don’t like about being grown up is that no one is in the kitchen cooking bacon when I wake up!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 16, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Growing up we had pork tenderloin, biscuits and crispy eggs. Makes me hungry to remember. The pork was white and firm, not like most store-bought. The eggs were fried in a hot cast iron skillet. The white turned brown with crispy edges while the yolk was over-medium. Seems nobody understands how to fry eggs like that.

    We ate hardy because we needed the energy. Now I often skip breakfast. I’m not active enough to eat like that anymore.

    Btw, this is blackberry winter here today. It was 39 F about daylight.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    April 16, 2018 at 7:34 am

    I still spoon the bacon grease over my eggs. My arteries are probably screaming when I do it so I try to keep it to a minimum.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 16, 2018 at 7:15 am

    Tipper–As Jerry Clower might have said, your photo of biscuits, sawmill gravy, and bacon “has done laid a craving on me.” Maybe I’ll be able to resist it when I head to the kitchen in a few minutes, but I doubt it:).

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Lee
    April 16, 2018 at 7:02 am

    I got to have same when with grandparents. Some kind pork, it differed, fried eggs, cream gravy, oatmeal and 2″ biscuits out wood stove with home churned butter. (She never cooked grits)
    It was something to get up for! Heaven!
    Now I eat a pumpkin muffin from Panera or bagel w/ strawberry cream cheese.
    All carbs!

  • Reply
    Betty "JO" Eason Benedict
    April 16, 2018 at 6:33 am

    We too, love breakfast for supper……otherwise it’s a Sunday morning treat. For me…..when it’s just me, during the week, it doesn’t have to be traditional breakfast food, whatever appeals at the moment! One of my Northern cousins was recently telling me what a great memory he has about visiting his aunt ( my grandma) in the early 60’s and her making him and his Dad, fried chicken and cornbread for breakfast. Also I’ve never had chocolate gravy on biscuits……..got to try that someday, I hear that’s a great favorite for some of my relatives.

    • Reply
      Lee
      April 16, 2018 at 7:10 am

      I made the chocolate gravy 12 years ago from lady from Mississippi receipe . She worked with me temporally . It turned out to be chocolate ‘pudding.’
      So unless you have some other receipe, just make up some pudding and have chocolate cobbler. It’s good but not what I wanted for breakfast.
      About anything is good on hot buttered biscuit.!

      • Reply
        Wanda Devers
        April 16, 2018 at 9:36 am

        Lee, Mama made chocolate gravy but she didn’t really have a recipe. It turned out just a little thicker than pancake syrup. I don’t think she used any thickener–just sugar, cocoa, water and butter. Boiled it pretty hard. I imagine if someone made a fairly thick sugar syrup like for sweetening tea and added cocoa and butter it would be like Mama’s.

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