Why is it that “comfort food” is laden with fat and calories? This might not be the case for you, but it certainly is for us. I grew up eating a wide variety of vegetables but without a doubt one of my favorite comfort foods is mashed potatoes. Not potatoes mashed with broth, no I want the ‘read deal’ – butter, cream and maybe sour cream or cream cheese mashed together by hand into a perfect creamy goodness. Although I am not a strict calorie counter, I do try to eat fairly healthy. So, if I am going to blow it, that guilty pleasure better taste REALLY good.
My mother in law Lois was the queen of country gravy. She had 5 hungry children to feed, no small feat on a limited budget. Lois was also the master of ‘Fried’ – if it couldn’t be fried it probably didn’t end up on their dinner table. Hence, No Baking Papa loves biscuits and country gravy and fried potatoes. I don’t think there were many vegetables that graced their table, with the exception of corn, which really should not be considered a vegetable.
Yesterday, I was at the market picking up a couple of things and looking for inspiration for dinner. Chicken was on sale. Chicken is almost always on sale and we have had a lot of chicken lately. I toyed with the idea of fried chicken but nixed that idea, even though I had a quart of buttermilk to use up. I continued down the meat case and there sat 2 cube steaks, really cheap. An idea was born, Chicken Fried Steak with Country Gravy.
No Baking Papa would be so happy!
Home I went to look up a recipe for The Best Chicken Fried Steak. I found the perfect recipe on AllRecipes.com that called for a buttermilk batter – with 555 reviews it seemed perfect!
I decided to use Chicken Seasoning in the batter instead of the called for salt, pepper and garlic that the recipe called for. This seasoning is adapted from Heather’s Fried Chicken recipe on AllRecipes, which by the way is dangerously delicious. Although Lois would be proud of me, I should never have learned to fry chicken. But that is another story ….
I set about making a mouth watering ‘comfort food’ dinner. Cast iron skillet ready and waiting – batter made and flour well seasoned with the chicken seasoning.
One bite and I knew I had missed the mark. Lois would not have been impressed and neither was I. No Baking Papa was polite but I knew this was not the comfort food of his dreams. The potatoes were great, the gravy was fine but the chicken fried steak just didn’t measure up. I was so disappointed. I was hungry, so I ate but the whole time I was thinking, “What a waste of calories!”
As I was cleaning up the kitchen I kept thinking, “Where did I go wrong?” Then it hit me, I didn’t actually season the meat. All the seasoning was in the flour, the batter and the gravy. Seasoning the meat would have made a big difference, I think.
There won’t be a repeat of this dinner – I will leave Chicken Fried Steak to the experts.
It occurred to me, in the middle of the night, when I woke up with indigestion, that the memories of the ‘comfort food’ of our past are far better than the real deal.