Good Gravy By Crystal L Barnes

Howdy y’all! Thanks for having me back on Petticoats and Pistols. It’s always a treat. And speaking of treats…when was the last time you treated yourself to some good old-fashioned home cooking? I’m talking Texas-style comfort food, y’all. Steak and taters. Sausage gravy and homemade biscuits. Black-eyed peas and cornbread. Mmmmm…I think I’m getting hungry. 🙂

If you haven’t figured it out, I love to cook and bake (just not clean—praise God for dishwashers!). Like many of the characters you’ll find in my historical western romances or other old-time westerns, I was reared, for the most part, on what my family grew, raised, or hunted. Pretty much still am. In my kitchen you’ll find anything from venison to home-grown chicken to home-canned veggies and fruit preserves. Through the years my table and taste buds have enjoyed rabbit, squirrel, wild hog, and even steers from our pasture, to name a few.


I love to intermingle these types of tidbits into my stories, and I thought some of you authors and history lovers, who don’t delve into these delicacies 😉 often, would enjoy a few fun facts about this type of down-home cooking.

For example, did you know…?

  • A squirrel is all dark meat and tastes a lot like chicken. They are very lean, but go great with dumplings.
  • A rabbit is all white meat. 🙂 Just don’t eat one in a month without an R in the name. (I can tell you why from my dad’s personal experience, but I don’t want to test those with weak stomachs.)
    • In my family, we joke when we eat rabbit and say we’re having “furry chicken.” My favorite is BBQ rabbit. Only don’t smoke them on the pit too long or they’ll be like eating cotton-candy bunny—it practically dissolves in your mouth.
  • When cleaned properly—if no one punctures a scent gland—deer meat actually does not taste gamey. If a scent gland does get hit/cut, you can soak the meat in salt water to remove the gamey smell and taste. Venison is leaner than beef and higher in iron too. (It’s my favorite! 🙂 )

Now that I’ve shared a few tidbits, why don’t you take a turn? What unique or country-style dishes have you eaten? What is your favorite comfort food? Were any of these tidbits news to you? Leave a comment and let me know.

I’ll be giving away a FREE copy (ebook or paperback) of one of my stories to one of this post’s commenters, and I’ll give a second FREE copy (ebook or paperback) to the first person that correctly answers the following question.

What is the most integral ingredient in any country-cooking kitchen?
(I rarely cook a meal without it.)

Winners may select one of the following titles:
(Paperback for contiguous US winners only.)



An award-winning author, bona fide country girl, and former gymnast,  Crystal L Barnes tells stories of fun, faith, and friction that allow her to share her love of Texas, old-fashioned things, and the Lord—not necessarily in that order. When she’s not writing, reading, or singing, Crystal enjoys exploring on road-trips, spending time with family, and watching old movies/sitcoms. I Love Lucy and Little House on the Prairie are two of her favorites. You can find out more and connect with Crystal at

Find her also on her blog, the Stitches Thru Time group blog, her Amazon Author Page, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google+, or her Facebook Author page.

Want to be notified of her latest releases and other fun tidbits? Subscribe to her newsletter.




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45 thoughts on “Good Gravy By Crystal L Barnes”

  1. Good morning Crystal welcome to P & P. I love comfort foods. I love squirrel, rabbit, and especially deer. I’ve eaten shark but it’s a strong fish taste. I’ve eaten rattlesnake and armadillo but that was when I was small.
    My favorite comfort foods is Chicken and dumplings. My mom makes the best. And who would not love chicken fried steak & gravy. Yum yum. You have a great weekend.

    • Yum, yum. I love me some chicken fried steak too.
      That’s cool that you’ve eaten shark, Tonya. I can’t say I’ve eaten armadillo, but I have eaten frog legs and I think snake.
      Hope you have a great weekend too!

  2. When I was 12 years old I went to live in in Tennessee with my aunt for a few years , I had never lived on a farm before, so getting up in the morning take care of the pigs gathering eggs from the chickens learning to cut up chicken make cornbread was all new to me. But my favorite memory was we didn’t have cereal for breakfast or treat, you would have to go get corn bread break it up in a bowl put a little salt over it and pour milk or buttermilk over it. At first I thought what is this , then even now corn bread and milk is still a treat I go back to for my favorite memories of my childhood on the farm.

  3. I grew up on a farm. My favorite meal is venison stew and biscuits. I also canned a lot of my own vegetables from our garden and made jam from wild blackberries(yum).
    Would love to win a print copy of Win, Love or Draw.

    • Oooh, deer stew does hit the spot on a cold day. 🙂 I have favorite jam too, Estella. We do a mixed mulberry-blackberry jam that is scrumptious. Have you ever had mulberry jam?

  4. Well, I am a bit citified (if that is a word). I don’t think I could eat rabbit, deer or squirrel. My comfort food is usually pasta, pizza or a runny yolk fried egg over white rice.

  5. Hey y’all! It looks like the question for the second book giveaway got accidentally left off. Here it is…

    What is the most integral ingredient in any country-cooking kitchen?
    (I rarely cook a meal without it.)

  6. Hello from Vermont. I’ve eaten woodchuck, squirrel, venison, bear, rabbit, frog legs and many more growing up in Vermont. I love rabbit fried. My biscuits are awesome. My comfort food is chicken and dumplings. I have venison in my freezer right now. Fry it up with wild mushrooms and yummy.

  7. I have eaten rabbit, squirrel, deer and ever turtle which parts of it taste like chicken too. My favorite comfort food would have to be chicken and dumplings and they have to be homemade dumpling like my grandmother use to make and I do make them sometimes. We still eat a lot of stuff like fried cornbread and things around here because my husband loves it, not good for you but we do have it. He was never use to country cooking so he doesn’t eat the chicken and dumplings so it just leaves more for me and I share with my sister.

    • Hi, Quilt Lady! I think I’ve eaten turtle before, but I’m not positive. It’s amazing how so many things taste like chicken.
      I’m with you — a good pot of homemade chicken and dumplings sure does hit the spot, although I don’t make them all that often.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. Crystal,
    I’m so excited you dropped by the corral today! My comfort food is chicken noodle soup, but I make it the way my Iowa farm grandmother did. I hand roll out the noodles, add them to chicken stock, and add chicken. No vegies. Then she would serve it over mashed potatoes.

    • Hi Julie! I’m excited to be here.
      That’s so cool you make your own noodles. I’ve made lasagna noodles once and it’s amazing how different fresh is. And speaking of different, I’ve never heard of chicken noodle soup being served over mashed potatoes, but it does sound yummy.

  9. My Oklahoma/Texas side of the family would say beans are the thing one can’t live without. We always eat a lot of cornbread and beans whenever I visit. That’s my mom’s side, though; my dad’s side had a farm and being Italian lived on homemade pasta, veggies they grew, and chickens they raised. I guess I inherited the Italian side since those are my main stables including chickpeas (which are one of the oldest cultivated human foods coming from the ancient Middle East). Because of meat allergies, I’ve never had all the wildlife everyone is speaking about. Chicken and salmon are it for me. I’m also lacking in the ereader department, so please don’t enter me in the contest. Boy, am I an outsider here!

    • What a heritage, Eliza! Italian food is so tasty.
      Good guess on the beans, but that’s not quite the ingredient I was looking for.
      Like you, I actually prefer paperbacks myself. Hope you have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

      • I forgot to guess your secret ingredient. To me, a Northeasterner, beans are the deal, but I’d bet the house the key ingredient you’re referring to is what kind of grease/fat/lard/etc. you use–probably bacon grease saved from previous meals one cooked.

  10. Comfort food means roasted chicken with veggies. Love such a soothing meal. The ingredient which I cannot live without is lemons. Love to read your books.

  11. For me comfort food is French Toast made from Challah. So nostalgic and it warms my heart and soul. Ingredient would be eggs.

    • We make French toast a plenty in my house from my husband’s late grandmother’s recipe, so I totally get the nostalgic bit.

      I agree eggs are very important. That’s a good guess.

      Thanks do much for stopping by, April!

  12. Hi Crystal….welcome back! We love when you visit. I’m really finicky when it comes to meat. Beef, chicken and pork. Period. I’ll leave all that other to someone else. My comfort food doesn’t involve any meat–red beans, cornbread and fried potatoes. I grew up on that and I love it to this day.

    Good luck with your books!

  13. Hey Crystal, Thank you for the scrumptious post! I love deer sausage. Fried okra is also a favorite.

  14. I’ve eaten rabbit and I have finally learned to cook deer meat and actually like it. My favorite meal is actually roast beef cooked with potatoes, carrots and onions and I also love gravy and biscuits. As I thought about your most used ingredient in your cooking, I think that mine is probably flour because I make biscuits from scratch, add it to my cornbread, thicken gravy with it, thicken pudding with it if I don’t have cornstarch, make cakes, cookies, bread pudding, banana bread and zucchini bread. Flour definitely is my go-to ingredient!
    Thanks for a fun and interesting post.

    • Hi Connie! We actually had deer for supper last night. I love me a good pot roast too, and like you, I definitely use flour a lot. However, there is something I use more. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  15. The most essential ingredient would have to be either salt or a grease of some sort (lard, butter, oil, shortening).

    I have actually found that the gaminess of venison sometimes is related to the deer’s diet. If they have been raiding the planted field eating soy, corn,alfafa, or whatever, they aren’t very gamey at all. If they have been into the red cedar or more wild a diet, the taste is there. I will have to try soaking them in salt water.
    I like ruffed grouse. If you put an orange in the body cavity, wrap it in bacon, and glaze it with marmalade, then bake, it is wonderful. We do a similar thing with venison roasts. Wrap it in bacon and use a boysenberry jam to glaze it, and bake.
    I never thought about not eating rabbit in months with no r, but I can remember getting some over the summer that were too bitter to eat. Had never had that happen before. We never did figure it out. We thought maybe it was something they ate.
    I have had bear – greasy. I have eaten other things when I was overseas, but they really aren’t appropriate for this thread.
    As for comfort food, my favorite for cold weather is a nice pot roast with carrots, onions, and potatoes.

    • Hahaha! I’d love to hear more, Patricia, but I understand not everyone is up for crazy food discussions. 🙂
      I’ve never had grouse, but that does sound yummy. We’ve taken large chunks of deer hind quarter or even smaller chunks of tenderloin, wrapped them in bacon, and smoked them on the pit. Mmmm. That’s some good stuff.
      P.S. You’re a very good guesser. 😉

    • Hi Carla! I totally agree cast iron is the best thing to cook in. I use it all the time, but I think I’d count that as a utensil and not an ingredient. Good guess though.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  16. I never heard the “no eating rabbit in months without an r” before. Since rabbit season is October through February that is when we ate fried rabbit, all months with r. My dad would take his Beagles out along the neighbors’ fence rows and bring home supper.

    I’ve been trying to think of what ingredient I rarely cook a meal without and salt goes in almost everything in varying amounts. Milk is another ingredient that I have to have on hand.

    • Hi Alice! Sounds like y’all kept to the R rule without even realizing it. 🙂 We actually used to breed rabbits in raised cages, so we could eat them all year round.
      Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend.

  17. I was born in the East Coast and I’m definitely not a meat lover. I eat it but once in awhile. For me it’s hard to think of eating any of those. 🙂 But my comfort food is roast chicken with mashed potatoes & gravy. I’ll guess at your secret ingredient and say it’s corn starch.

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