David Theiss: Go old school this Mother’s Day (recipe)

Biscuits and gravy.

Biscuits and gravy.

I was noticing the other day, a customer pulled up in front of the shop, got out of her car and looked in the window to see if we were open.
I found this odd since it was 11 a.m. on a Wednesday. The customer came in and bought some meat and I asked her why she looked in the window before she came in and she responded that we looked closed.
Closed? I thought for a moment, the hours are clearly posted on the front door and the open sign is turned the correct way.
Same sign we have used for the last 40 years, same location.
But lately so many more people said we looked closed — apparently not seeing the open sign. It occurred to me that my “high tech” open and closed sign that has worked for decades, now might not be flashy enough to attract attention.
One side of the pig sign says “open” and the other side says “closed.” Somehow people don’t seem to see it any more.
So I started looking around at other businesses, noticing the neon sign blazing open or closed. Could it be I need to upgrade to a sign that seems has everyone’s attention? I certainly hate to just ditch the pig sign who’s been watching customers come and go for many decades.
I like my sign, guess I’m just old school. Sort of like this meat business. No Zoom meetings for me. No working from home. That computer just doesn’t move that knife very well. It doesn’t wrap meat or make sausage, doesn’t call Mrs. Jones by her first name, or ask about her children. Hmm. I guess I’m just old school.
It is an old school profession for sure — a butcher’s job has been documented from as early as the 12th century and is a tradition and a privilege in many cultures. The butcher is the one who has the knowledge and the know-how to safely cut, produce, and prepare meat for all of his towns people.
Today is not so much different from the past. Running a meat company has many rewards. One of which is all of the great customers you befriend over the years, gaining the knowledge and growing with a community with its new trends and needs. Not to mention the rewards in preparing all the holiday meats and barbecues for my friends, making sausage, processing wild game, or dreaming up new delicious treats.
I was researching some of the old school trades. Ones that have very few left or don’t even exist anymore. My father being one of them, was a watchmaker or horologist. He repaired watches for over 65 years, a trade that very few follow today. Or that neighborly milkman popular in the 1950s that started phasing out in the 1970s. How about a bowling alley pinsetter — a machine took their place. Switch board operators? By the 1980s they were pretty much obsolete. Clock winders disappeared when the electric clock took over. Icemen worked hard to harvest ice to use in your refrigerator in the early 1900s by moving large blocks of ice out of lakes and storing them in underground insulated coolers. Then selling ice during the warm months by cracking off a piece at a time and delivering it in a wagon. Or have you heard of a “Knockerupper?” Before the first mechanical alarm clock was invented in 1847, people hired “knockeruppers" to help shoot peas at their windows or tap the glass with long poles so they didn't oversleep for work. That one made me chuckle a bit. I’m just distracted thinking about old school I guess — which leads me to today’s recipe. An old school recipe. Simple and great for a Mother’s Day brunch! Enjoy!
Biscuits and Country Sausage Gravy
1/2 cup 1 stick butter. Frozen
2 ½ cups self-rising flour
1 cup chilled buttermilk
Parchment paper
2 tablespoon’s butter melted
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Grate frozen butter with box grater combine grated butter and flour in a bowl and chill for 10 minutes.
Make a well in the center of the mixture, add your buttermilk and stir 15 times. Until its sticky, do not over mix.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly sprinkle flour over the top. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into ¾-inch 9x5-inch rectangle. Fold dough in half. Repeat rolling and folding process 5 more times.
Roll dough into ½ inch thickness then use a round cutter and cut into rounds.
Place dough on parchment paper on baking sheet and bake at 475 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Brush with melted butter when finished.
Country Sausage Gravy
1 pound bulk sausage
3.5 cups whole milk
3 tablespoon’s butter
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup flour
Brown sausage in a sauce pan over medium heat
Stir in flour and pepper and mix well for 2 minutes. Slowly add milk and whisk together until all the milk is incorporated. It will thicken and meld its flavors in about 5 minutes.
Serve the Country Sausage Gravy over your freshly made hot biscuits, and enjoy the simplicity of Old School! Happy Mother’s Day!
David Theiss is owner of Butler Gourmet Meats serving Carson City for almost 50 years.


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