We're a pretty open-minded pair when it comes to what we eat. I haven't really encountered anything that I wouldn't put into my mouth – kind of like a two-year-old in the backyard – sampling rocks, dirt, snails and whatever else crosses my path. Okay, I don't eat rocks and dirt, but thanks to my mom's policy of "taking a no-thank-you helping" when I was growing up, I'll eat and enjoy pretty much whatever you put in front of me.
I've gotten Julie to at least taste a great number of the meatses I've prepared, but she draws the line at pork.
So when I make sausage gravy, which is a traditional biscuit blanket here in the South, I compromise. We use a pork proxy – Gimme Lean sausage.
The very first time I used Gimme Lean, I also made a batch of my normal pork sausage gravy. Two skillets with identical ingredients (fat, white flour, whole milk, salt, white and black pepper), save the faux-sausage. My longtime-friend and fellow Kansan (read as: born-and-bred carnivore) Dan was our unwitting test subject. I didn't ask him "which one do you think has real sausage in it?" I simply asked "which one do you like better?"
Now, I have to qualify Dan with a quick story here:
A number of years ago we were at Trader Joe's in Seattle. In the vast and wonderful cheese section, there were sample trays with little cubes of different cheeses to try. Dan was tasting each and every fromage they offered up – aged English cheddar, Havarti with dill, Parmigiano Reggiano – but wasn't paying much attention to the labels on each tray. He got to the final sample station, popped a cube of cheese into his mouth, chewed twice and suddenly stopped. His jaw clenched, his eyes were wide and frightened, and he began frantically looking around for... something. Dan, as discreetly as possible, leaned over and ejected the cheese from his mouth to his hand, making a "Bwuuuu-uuuulll-uuch" sound. He was looking for a trash can, and I was no help, standing a few feet behind him nearly choking from trying to hold in my laughter. He looked back at the tag on the tray, which read "soy cheese."
Let's just say Dan prefers the real things in life.
So when I put two plates of biscuits and gravy in front of him – not disclosing anything about the dishes – and asked him to tell me which one he preferred, I figured he'd instinctively choose the biscuits with real sausage gravy.
I was wrong, and he was rather surprised to learn that the one he liked better was actually pretend pork.
My sausage gravy has been prepared this way ever since, even on April Fool's Day.