Philadelphia Gravy

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Sundancer7
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2003/10/30 08:50:23 (permalink)

Philadelphia Gravy

I was in Philly for the last couple of days and while waiting in the airport last evening, the Philadelphia Enquirer had an extensive article about gravy. Well since I certainly enjoy East Tennessee gravy such as sawmill, chicken, red eye and about any others known to man, I knew this would be a good article. To my surprise, it was all about red sauce such as marinara, spaghetti sauce, etc. Nothing about what I expected. This is another interesting example of regional definitions. The article was almost two complete pages listing the top ten gravy preparations and why. All were about either marinara or spaghetti sauce.

Paul E. Smith
Knoxville TN
#1

13 Replies Related Threads

    Oneiron339
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/30 09:05:20 (permalink)
    Yeah, Paul, some folks in that area call tomato sauce "gravy". As you go westward toward Lancaster and the farmland, gravy is gravy as most know it, brown or chicken or turkey. I always liked tomato gravy on veal cutlets and a thicker version on my cheesesteak.
    #2
    Spudnut
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/30 09:55:58 (permalink)
    Most "serious" Italians that I know refer to "sauce" as "gravy." They also refer to the kind of gravy you're talking about as "gravy." I personally don't know any non-Italians who use "gravy" for "sauce," but that could be regional or just my circle.

    I guess gravy is kind of like "Shalom": it can mean different things, depending on the context.
    #3
    lleechef
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/30 11:17:54 (permalink)
    I was very surprised when I moved to Boston to hear people talking about making "da gravy" and found out it was marinara! In the Pittsburgh area, spaghetti or marinara was "sauce" and gravy was for everything else.
    #4
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/30 11:23:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    I was in Philly for the last couple of days and while waiting in the airport last evening, the Philadelphia Enquirer had an extensive article about gravy. Well since I certainly enjoy East Tennessee gravy such as sawmill, chicken, red eye and about any others known to man, I knew this would be a good article. To my surprise, it was all about red sauce such as marinara, spaghetti sauce, etc. Nothing about what I expected. This is another interesting example of regional definitions. The article was almost two complete pages listing the top ten gravy preparations and why. All were about either marinara or spaghetti sauce.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville TN


    The first time I ever heard the word sauce used in reference to the stuff served with pasta dishes I was about 16. Growing up among Italians in New Haven, Connecticut it was always gravy.
    #5
    chezkatie
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/30 13:12:37 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Phil J.

    Most "serious" Italians that I know refer to "sauce" as "gravy." They also refer to the kind of gravy you're talking about as "gravy." I personally don't know any non-Italians who use "gravy" for "sauce," but that could be regional or just my circle.



    I have a large collection of Italian cookbooks and many of the more homey ones refer to sauce as gravy. I have read many Sunday Gravy recipes and this is one that I have made........call it sauce or call it gravy...it is delicious

    SUNDAY GRAVY

    3 pounds spareribs, separated or else use short ribs
    1/2 cup olive oil
    2 onions. minced
    12 cloves garlic, minced
    1 recipe braciole
    1 pound Italian sausage
    4 28 oz cans plum tomatoes, including all the juice
    2 tsp dried parsley, or 1/4 cup fresh, chopped
    2 bay leaves
    2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. black pepper
    1 recipe of meatballs

    1. In stockpot, combine the ribs with enough cold water to cover. Bring to boil and let simmer 20 minutes. Drain.

    2. In stockpot, over moderate heat warm the oil and cook the onions and garlic, stirring for about 5 min. Add the ribs, braciole and sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper and let simmer for about 1 hour. Add the meatballs and let cook slowly for 2 more hours.

    3. When gravy is almost done, cook pasta and drain. Remove all meat and put on platter. Save a gravy bowl of sauce to put on table and pour the rest over the hot pasta which you have placed in serving bowl. (This makes about 10 cups of sauce after the meat is removed so if you do not need all of the sauce for one meal freeze what you do not use. (It freezes beautifully) Pass freshly grated parm cheese and dig in! Now, that is Sunday gravy! (I omit the bay leaves and add 1 tablespoon of dried basil in place of them)
    #6
    Bushie
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/30 19:16:01 (permalink)
    Thank you, chezkatie.
    #7
    CheeseWit
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/30 20:01:12 (permalink)
    Yo, it's gravy in South Philly. Sauce is what they use in Chinatown (Duck, Hoisin, etc.), in the fancy French restaurants in Center City, and what you get on a cheesesteak when you order a pizzasteak.

    The article in The Inquirer Sundancer was referring to was about this Sunday's Gravyfest. Last year, at the inaugural fest, thousands of people showed up in the Wachovia Center (our sports arena) for a taste of various gravies prepared by some of the great Italian restaurants and cooks in the Philadelphia area.

    If I didn't have previous plans, I'd be right there with them this year.
    #8
    BigGlenn
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/30 22:29:15 (permalink)
    I ain't no genius but, Gravy has flour in it and sauce is everything else! I heard that some people put "Chocolate Gravy" on their Ice Cream. I use Chocolate Sauce on mine. What are the Definitions of Sauce and Gravy? Another thing, I ain't never pouring no "Sauce" on my country biscuits!
    #9
    Rick F.
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/31 02:48:25 (permalink)
    Interesting. We entertained a mixed bag of Europeans for dinner once, and they were delighted that we had a sauce. As they should have been, as it was marsala sauce with home-made (from scratch) Beef Wellington. The same group told me that in Italy marinara (or ragu; anybody know the difference?) was used as a gravy: rather sparingly and not saturating the pasta.
    I like the idea of "gravy" defined as containing flour and "sauce" being more the jus. But we'd have to allow some shades of grey: for instance, I often use corn starch to thicken "it." So is it gravy or sauce?
    #10
    seafarer john
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/31 09:55:46 (permalink)
    According to Mario Batali, the Italians refer to what we call "sauce" as the "condimento" - merely a condiment to flavor the pasta- and it is used sparingly, like we use gravy (or at least like some of us use gravy).
    #11
    Oneiron339
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/31 10:06:54 (permalink)
    I say to-MAY-to, you say to-MAH-to, I say po-TAY-to, you say po-TAH-to
    That's what makes this fun. Just ladle some of that gravy/sauce/condimento on my plate and enough that I can do a little "soppin'" when I'm done and I don't care what it's called.
    #12
    harriet1954
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/31 18:49:32 (permalink)
    This explains South Philly Italians (and please note the reference to macaroni instead of pasta) http://www.talker.com/philadelphia/realsouthphilly.html I come from the opposite end of Philly, the Northeast (which might as well be the opposite end of the world compared to South Philly!)
    #13
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Philadelphia Gravy 2003/10/31 19:05:15 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    When I visited New Orleans, I ventured out to Chalmette to the thrift store, and while there decided to take in Rocky & Carlo's. The lady in line behind me told me to get "gravy" on what I ordered. It was tomato sauce, but that was fine with me. I think I ordered bruscheletta (spelling optional). Great scott, did they give me a whopping plate; more than I could eat, and I can really pack it away. It's amazing to me that everyone who eats there regularly doesn't weigh in at 400-500 #.
    Food writer Richard Collin once described Rocky & Carlo's as "barely controlled chaos," and that fits the place perfectly.
    Next time I'm down, I'm gonna make it a point to stop in at Mandich's on St. Claude Avenue... or do I have it wrong? No, it's Mandina's that's out on Tulane or Broad. I gotta go there, too. And I've still never been to Mother's. Nor The Bon Ton. Nor Maxcy's Coffee Pot. Nor Delmonico's. Nor Eddie's. Nor Parasol's. Nor Uglesich's. Nor Mosca's. Nor Tujague's. Nor Mancuso's on Camp Street. Nor Mumphrey's. Nor something like 586 other places that I had ought to go... I gotta lose some weight before I think any more.
    Shrinkingly, The Nonviole(n)t Ort. Carlton in 30601.
    #14
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