Exact quote is: “I’m going to add a little bit of coffee – gives an element to what I call Red Eye gravy.” The quote is from Beat Bobby Fly-Welcome to New York. Season 1 Episode 2.
I always think this show is a feather in the cap for Bobby Flay. If you remember he’s the chef that took on Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto they had to compete using rock crabs. When he won he got on top of the counter and waived his fists victoriously. A lot of people couldn’t believe he desecrated the cooking space with his unhygienic feet. I think he took some heat for it. As with all things… give it a bit of time and some one will come up with a reality show -like this one. Two notable chefs will compete for the chance to cook against Bobby Flay for a added chance of a pot of gold-a mere $ 10,000 dollars!! Above the stage is a gallery of young professional people cheering on both chefs. I always wonder …do they feed them afterwards to reward them for all their enthusiasm? Unsure. But it’s a fun way to spend an hour of your life.
So what exactly is Red Eye gravy? It was described as a Southern Food. It’s the drippings and bits left in the pan after pan frying ham, sausages or bacon. It’s mixed with black coffee…stirred, then usually poured over cornbread, potatoes , grits or biscuits. I even found it described as the “soy sauce of the South” if that gives you an idea. Up here in Minnesota we would call it “gravy” but down in the South it has 6 other names.. Poor man’s gravy, bird eye gravy, bottom sop, cedar gravy, red ham gravy and red eye jus. This quote from (www.ourstate.com) says it all : ” Red eye gravy is more than a dish; it’s an ode, a love song to a personal olfactory memory the smell of ham frying, of coffee long brewed. It’s an edible sonnet to the Southerners. It was created back in the early1800’s when coffee was expensive and hard to find. People used their coffee grounds for a week gleaning every last drop of taste they could extract. Nothing was wasted. Strangely enough in the South you can be served a big mug of coffee with a slice of ham floating in it. Up in Minnesota we put cream in our coffee. People get a deer in the headlight look in their eyes if the baristas say would you like your coffee black or with soy or cocunut milk? I wonder what they’d say to a piece of ham?