"...been wadin' through the high muddy water"
Muddy Water Magazine
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Bob Dylan's Country Ham and Red Eye Gravy*
from the upcoming book on Muddy Water Press, Rock Recipes
Sly George, Little Mo and several of the always straggling unameables came to my doorstep, naturally, calling out together in a most unavoidable voice.
“We need direction!” they shouted. “We need inflection!” “We need our compasses re-magnetized!” “We need meat!” “And maybe some bread?” Little Mo nodded when they asked for bread. I was busy studying DaVinci’s
backwards handwriting, which looked pretty normal to me, but what can I say about that?
“I see that the door is already open,” I answered. They fell inside like a Marx Brothers scene and it was lively enough, for a while, but the conversation slowly died down until only the grumbling of stomachs was heard. “Bread and meat,” I mumbled. The maid was out protesting the treatment of hotel workers and George Lopez, not how he's treated, just him. She thinks he's too divisive and purposely stereotypical. I find George funny myself. There's no good answer to trivialities, though, so I forgot about it and went to the kitchen to see what I could find. First rule of cooking is, of course, steal a recipe from someone else and change it slightly, then call it your own. For instance call it your great aunt’s cobbler or your ma’s pot pie. I got this recipe from a Civil War time cook book, out of Appalachia, and added my special ingredients.
Bob’s Country Ham and Red Eye Gravy
Slice ham. You have to get a ham first, or get the maid to get one, which luckily enough she did before she went off protesting. I’ve been meaning to talk to her about my experiences with that and how she's bound for disappointment in the end. Anyway, get the pan hot. The best kind of pan is a black cast iron skillet that’s at least twenty years old and is as seasoned as Charlie Patton’s voice. Take down the old dented can of bacon grease from the shelf and put one tablespoon into the pan. Watch it sizzle, and watch out for when it pops and shoots hot grease up at you. Cook the ham on both sides. Remove ham from pan. Add a little water and yesterday’s coffee to drippings. Bring to a rapid boil. Serve over ham, with grits and hot biscuits. While I myself can’t make grits or hot biscuits, a Southern dark-eyed beauty who I met a few days back and thinks I’m Bobby Darren was gracious enough to step in for that part of the recipe. You’ll need to find yourself your own dark-eyed beauty.
All the unnameables slurped up the ham, gravy and fixin’s like there was no tomorrow. Which there probably isn’t. Little Mo, always watchful, said, “But Bob, I’ve had country ham and red eyed gravy my whole long, sweet life, and while I have to say this is some fine eatin’, it don’t seem to me to be all that different than what I’ve had before. What is it makes yours special?” “Astute observation, Mo, I said. “Secret’s what I put in the coffee. In about forty-five minutes, you’ll see what I mean.”
PS - When you hear the first whipporrwill of the season, lay down and roll over three times. Make a wish first tho. What’ll happen, I can’t say, but it’s a tested tradition.
The Small Print
*If you haven't figured it out by now, these are fictional recipes and not to be attributed to any real persons, living or dead. Do not try these recipes out at home, Muddy Water holds no responsibility for the outcome if you do.