The Oracle Known as Steve Performs the Miracle of the Loaves and the Gravy

January 23rd, 2008

A few nights ago we received a very special visit from the Oracle Known as Steve.  If you didn’t know this already, the Oracle Known as Steve has an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge that surpasses the average human such as myself in both intensity and fervor by about seventeen football fields. In our early married days, the Country Doctor consulted The Oracle Known as Steve with a regularity that makes Metamucil look like white flour. The Oracle advised us on everything from furniture placement to produce selection. I still don’t know how we ever could have limped through our first years of marriage without him.

As we visited with The Oracle and his beautiful family, I prepared a fabulous dinner including fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and some broccoli and cauliflower sauteed in garlic, wine and olive oil. Yeah, I know the broccoli and cauliflower in wine and garlic wasn’t really what you were expecting – but it was all I had!

Just as I was about to finish up the potatoes and put this lovely meal on the table, The Oracle Known as Steve stopped me dead in my tracks with one of those life altering questions that makes you regret everything you have ever done and want to start completely over…from scratch…from the beginning… from the dawn of time. He asked me…

“Are you going to make any gravy?”

To the average family member I would have probably responded by saying,

“Get out of my kitchen now!”


“No! I’m not, you gotta problem with that?”


“Do you want to do all the cooking from now on?”

But since it was the Oracle – I fell prostrate on the floor in front of him and said, “Um… no… I wasn’t – w-w-w-would you like to make some…?”

And he commanded me saying, “Wherest is thy flour?”

As you may know, The Oracle Known as Steve and The Country Doctor are both from a large rambling family of nine siblings raised on the rugged Kansas Prairie in a tiny farmhouse where they thrived on activities such as “Knife Trife” a game involving a butter knife, a living room and three wrestling brothers (The CD, THE OKAS, and Mr. Panties). They also learned how to make massive meals – emphasis on the word MASSIVE to feed this family. As the family grew up and got married and had kids – the meals got more and more MASSIVE. During the making of these massive meals, The Oracle Known as Steve can often be found, behind the stove or manning the grill or stirring the soup. His favorite cooking utensils are – king sized black plastic garbage bags – for mixing salads… Industrial sized vats for making soup and sauces… and evidently he needs the back-end of a pick up truck in order to make his gravy.

I did not have the back-end of a pick up truck to offer him, so I gave him my largest frying pan – the one I use to make entire meals for my family of six and watched in growing fear and panic as he started to make his gravy.

I won’t describe the entire process, but I will tell you that he started with a gallon of milk and this is how much was left when he was done.

At some point he made the sad mistake of jumping from making gravy to instructing me as to how to make gravy and that is where I sort of started making a few very small and very discreet faces.

I made this one when he demanded a whisk… no, not that one… a better whisk. Do you have a better whisk? I will need a better one than that one…

Then… he asked for some starchy water from the potatoes I was still boiling.

I said, “Can I just dip some out for you as my potatoes are still cooking?”

He said, “No, I want the dregs at the bottom with the little chunks of potatoes…”

He went on and on about how the dregs from the bottom of the potato water make much better gravy and blah blah blah blah!

My face sort of started to melt into this…

Oh is that right Mr. Oracle?

Tell me more about your potato water Mr. Oracle, and your dregs and your expertise at making gravy because HELLO – I am the mother of four boys and you are not the mother of ANY boys and my guess is that I have made about sixteen industrial sized vats of gravy compared to your single super large frying pan full!

The Oracle Known as Steve never even flinched.

Finally – the potatoes were mashed – the Oracle Known as Steve got his dreggy water, and finished making his gravy and he summoned unto me saying, “Fetcheth me a large containereth big enough to hold his vast ocean of gravy.”

“And Lo – I did fetch unto him a plastic pitcher for ice tea and he did filleth it uppeth to the toppeth and then we filled another smaller pitcher uppeth to the toppeth and then the gravy ceased and there was no more.

While topping off the large pitcher of gravy, I came to an new understanding of the term “gravy boat” as clearly, that is what we really needed…an actual boat… no wait… we really needed a gravy ark.

I placed the smaller gravy pitcher and the rest of the food on the table and dinner was served.

The food was great. The company was fine. We laughed, we talked, we hemmed and hawed, we chortled, we gasped, we heaved, we hoed, we looked at the large pitcher of gravy in awe and wonder, and then we heaved some more, we ate and ate and ate. After a piece of pie and some ice cream we cleared the table. This is what was left…

One piece of my delicious fried chicken.

One half pitcher of gravy.


As soon as the Oracle Known as Steve left, his precious dreggy potato water left-over gravy went straight into the trash.

Hey – everyone knows that gravy is never as good the second day!


  • Crunchy Chicken:

    Where are the torso shots?

  • Renee in Seattle:

    I could have torn that little teeny weeny piece of chicken into bits and dunked each bit into the gravy as I ate it, thereby diminshing the gravy by about half. But thats me.Hey look, my authentification word is akpigla. How appropriate.

  • savannah:

    Oooh! Forget the gravy…can we have the recipe for your fried chicken?

  • Anonymous:

    Roch,it’s Dawn! OMG, you crack me up, I read your blog faithfully now EVERYDAY, I just don’t take the time to comment. I had the absolute worst day today; and reading your blog…well it just makes me smile. I love it!Dawn

  • Cynthia:

    That gravy is kind of giving me the heebee jeebees.Can he make pudding?

  • Junebug:

    My favorite line was “He never even flinched.” It must have been edible since only half was left. Did you see the pitcher as half full or half empty? Or completely empty after you dumped it? he he he

  • Nan:

    I almost feel as if I was there, you described it so well! I’m still laughing about the king sized garbage bags for salad mixing and the back of a pick up truck for gravy making, too cute.

  • Rechelle:

    Hey Dawn – Sorry you had a crap day. Glad to be of some sort of help.

  • Robbyn:

    It’d be worth volunteering a pick up truck to see you blog about The Oracle making gravy in it, ha!! LOVED this post…I’m seriously laughing my hinter-regions off!!

  • Anonymous:

    Those pictures look remarkably like the faces I made while my mother-in-law made gravy at our house two Thanksgivings ago. I kept thinking, “Oh garsh, she’s doing this wrong.” But thou shalt not tell thy mother-in-law how to do things. I kept making polite suggestions and then trying to stay away so that I didn’t burst a blood vessel in my brain. The gravy never did set up right even though she spent an extra half hour on it and kept adding flour. I felt better after learning that I was not the only one stressing while watching her prepare that gravy. I’d probably have written a blog post about it, but I stupidly gave family my blog address.P.S. This is a regular reader from your home state who always writes loooong @$$ comments and is slightly paranoid that her family follows her around the internet:oD

  • Sarah H.:

    When I was a kid we used to tear up slices of white bread (the whiter, the better) and pour gravy over it and eat it. I would still do that if I ever made gravy … or if I had a B-I-L who would come to my house and make me some. I wouldn’t be makin’ no faces at him. (Well, maybe a couple, in private.) I don’t wanna be accused of givin’ you too much love, but this was a funny story. Thanks for the laugh.

  • Lisa:

    LOL!I crack up everytime I see that picture of the Oracle; even before you say anything about him.Potato water, huh? No wonder I can’t make gravy. ;-)

  • Lisa:

    BTW, just a FYI, you need a label devoted solely to *The Oracle Known as Steve* :-)

  • Rechelle:

    I’ve been thinking about that… I just hate to give so much attention to only one of my crazy relatives when I am blessed with so many…

  • ruchi:

    That was hysterical. Made me wish I had a big family so I could make salads in a garbage bag. :)

  • Natalie:

    I’m laughing at the image of the 3 of them wrestling on the floor: CD with his tape gun, Panties commenting on everyones drawers and TOKAS giving a running critique of the whole thing! What are the sisters like????

  • Anonymous:

    You one funny lady!

  • Kacey:

    Who knew you needed the dregs of the potato water to make gravy?? I’ve been so wrong, for so many years…

  • Margaret:

    just found this site after your visit to PW. You have to have potatoes cooking to have potato dregs. Would rice dregs(???) do?

  • [...] wait!  I am sure The Oracle Known as Steve will be able to explain it all to me the next time I see him. [...]