Tennessee Mountain Stories

Chocolate Gravy and Other Comfort Foods

As I continue preparing to speak to the Monterey Depot Museum on April ninth, I was thrilled to read chef Bruce Wilson’s description of the dessert he’s planning:

“…my personal favorite course for this dinner is my signature dessert that combines my love of sundaes with my favorite childhood breakfast of chocolate gravy and biscuits! The freshly made whipped cream melts with the ice cream into the chocolate sauce and soaks into the sour cream pound cake and replicates the texture of that breakfast dish that we've all had growing up in this region”

And you know, that got me thinking…

Chocolate gravy was a favorite of my childhood too.  And I learned to make it at the feet of my Grandma Golda Stepp and I’ve continued to make it for the whole family.  In fact, we love to have family breakfasts – any time of the day – and hot biscuits and chocolate gravy are a staple of those meals.  Yet, outside of my family, I’ve found lots of people who’ve never enjoyed this delicacy.  In fact, an awful lot of people can’t quite imagine a combination of chocolate and gravy.  Still others don’t quite think chocolate for breakfast is proper.

But if you’re raised on it, this is the most normal thing in the world.  Of course, we think that of any foods from our childhood, don’t we?  I also ate “coffee and bread”, also known as “soaky” which is simply biscuits soaked in coffee with a little sugar on it.  I suppose that’s the ultimate comfort food for me – it’s certainly what I eat when I’m really stressed. 

All Gone!

All Gone!

I’ve seen an interpretation of some of my childhood foods in restaurants, especially in the South.  Apple dumplings are a popular restaurant food but I’ve never seen anyone make them like my Grandma and they’re never as good as hers.  Apple stack cake is rarely presented in public eateries, probably because you can’t quite make it pretty yet it’s an utterly Appalachian treat, as are blackberry dumplings.

I’m eager to see Chef Wilson’s adaptation of chocolate gravy and biscuits!

I’ve never really discovered the origin of chocolate gravy.  So maybe y’uns can help me with this one, because I’m thrilled to have readers who hale from all over the place.  How many of you have ever eaten Chocolate Gravy?  And was it from your childhood or something you were blessed with later on in life?  Just click “comments” below – if you have any trouble leaving your comment, click here for simple instructions.