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The Most Important Meal of the Day Made Me Who I Am . . .Sunday Morning Breakfasts and the Lessons of Life

The smell of bacon frying, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, hearing the scraping of a spoon continuously swirling around the bottom of the heavy cast iron skillet as my Granny made her famous chocolate gravy. Sensations I knew all too well, growing up in my Ma and Papaw’s house.

Sunday morning breakfast. No matter how late I had stayed out that Saturday night, on Sunday mornings, my brain would command my stomach to start rumbling and my mouth to water, even before I could open my eyes and drag myself out of bed.

Sunday morning breakfast. A huge pan of fluffy homemade biscuits, rising to the size of a cat’s head in the warm confinement of the oven, while Ma kept on stirring to keep the thick sticky sweetness from scorching.

Sunday morning breakfast. When all the hardships of the previous week faded, lending space to hesitation and dread of what the coming week may face – all of it forgotten if only for a short time and a simple meal.

My granny is, and always has been, a huge inspiration in my life. Growing up in her house, I was deep-rooted in old-fashioned values, traditions, and beliefs; None of which I would change because that’s what molded me into who I am today.

Growing up, I must admit, there were many times I took my situation for granted. As a teenager, who thought I knew it all, there were many times I resented the way I was being raised. When my friends were going somewhere or doing something that I wasn’t allowed to, I accused my granny of being stuck in the past or that she just didn’t understand and was trying to hold me back from life.

In my junior and senior years of high school though, I started to realize that they raised me like they did because they loved me and cared about my future. Junior year, when two of my friends got pregnant and dropped out of school, I understood. On the night of my high school graduation, where I graduated with honors and a 3.85 GPA, I thanked them for the way I was raised.

Ma gave me the skills needed to make it out in the world so far away from home, and the traits I needed to care for my own family. She instilled in me the ability to go after what I want, to stand by my beliefs, and to never back down, all while minding my manners, having respect, and remaining cordial.

My granny taught me the art of giving someone a piece of my mind in such a polite, respectful way, that by the end, that person doesn’t know whether to slap me or hug and thank me.

I learned the joy of preparing traditional holiday family dinners, and the value of giving to others in need. A big part of who I am is owed to my Ma and those Sunday morning breakfasts.

On occasion, when the struggles of bills, marriage, work, and life, in general, get to be too much, what I wouldn’t give to go back to those Sunday morning breakfasts…

Biscuits and chocolate gravy, crisp bacon, hot coffee, and a whole lotta love.

Ma’s Famous Chocolate Gravy

•2 cups granulated sugar
•1/2 – ¾ cup flour
•2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
•3 cups milk

Sift dry ingredients together fully, making sure to remove all lumps. Put into a skillet, on medium-high heat. Pour in the milk, stirring continuously. When it starts to bubble, continue stirring as the gravy will start to thicken. At preferred thickness, remove from heat.

Note: If gravy is too thin, stir in a little more flour. If gravy is too thick, add a splash of milk to thin it.

Most commonly, you would enjoy this with homemade biscuits; But that’s one art I never could get a grasp of. Canned biscuits (whomp’ems as they’re called in my house) work, or whatever you prefer, because after all, it wasn’t the food necessarily that made those Sunday morning breakfasts so special – it was the togetherness and the making of memories.

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