As a young adult, living alone, I seldom cooked. Fast food was practically my entire diet. I do not remember how or why I developed an interest in cooking. It should have been a "natural" for me since I was raised by one of the best cooks I've ever known...my mom.
My excursion into the world of cooking was a long learning experience and I made about every mistake one could make. I remember the day I attempted to make gravy for the first time. I heated some cooking oil in a skillet, added some flour, stirred, then added milk. I stirred and stirred but the gravy persisted in being a thin, pale soupy mess. I understood that I needed to add flour to thicken it but when I did...the flour simply floated on the surface. No matter how much I stirred the flour would not dissolve. So...what to do? Answer...call mom!
I explained my dilemma and my mom, after a muffled giggle, explained that when making gravy you can not add flour after adding the milk. She explained that the secret to good grave is the "roux". "The what?", I asked. She explaind, you must heat the oil first. Then add flour while stirring until you get a brown paste with no liquid or flour showing. That's the roux.
Thirty years later I can make the best gravy you ever tasted, if I do say so myself, and I make it without measuring anything, barely even looking at the skillet.
The following recipe makes sausage gravy but you can substitute bacon, chopped ham or leave the meat out.
And don't forget, the secret to good gravy is making the roux and getting it right. Master this and you are on your way to perfect gravy every time.