I wrote recently about my lack of enthusiasm for chicken-fried steaks.  I’ve gotten comments and emails from people in Alabama, Utah, Washington D.C., Louisiana, California, and- of course- Texas (El Paso, Dallas, Arlington, and just down the street), who all say that their CFS would change my mind.

So, besides the point I am leading up to, let me say this: have at it, you optimistic CFSers. I will take up you on your offers anytime we are in approximate vicinity to each other. Except don’t ask me to slather anything with white gravy. I just can’t do it.

OK, now to the main point. As I thought about those who made this offer to overturn my CFS bias, I realized that I am looking at a group of people who would, in the same room at the same time, enjoy each other to no end and come away from such an encounter with their circles of consciousness made wider, thus better.

What they all have in common, right now, is a love for good CFS (is that possible?) and some knowledge of me. They could bounce those two subjects back and forth for a few minutes as a dialectical means of establishing some community, but then..I know this is of them would say something which would cause another one to say “Aha!”. The rest would lean in to hear what followed (because all of them know- I also know- how to listen), and a human explosion of thought would begin that would leave everyone there reluctant at evening’s end to go home. But everyone would leave nourished and grateful for another community of which they were a part, but which had also taken them beyond themselves.


We all have the opportunity to make connections with people: between ourselves and others, and between others and others. In doing so, we advance humanity. I’ll go ahead and say it this way, so you know how important I think that work is: By bringing certain people together, we can change the world.

And, of course, that can be for good or for bad. At some point, in the late 1920s, someone said, “Adolph, I’d like introduce Hermann to you.” But for those of us with genuine concern for the world and all of its creatures, for those of us who feel the circles of our love straining for larger diameters, the opportunities to affect the ideas that could affect goodness in the world, are present almost daily. We all know people who don’t know each other who should know each other. We all know of synergy which is waiting to sizzle if only two or more special minds whom we also know, could be brought together.

At that’s all we really have to do. If we trust that our instincts and forethought are correct ones, the natural desire for creativity on the part of others will take over.  We, then, can sit back and be a part of the synergy instead feeling like we must lead, form, and guide it according to our own personal expectations. My group of CFS aficionados might not come from their evening together with a solution to end of world hunger in hand, but they might be ready to get together for a CFS cook off, from which there might emerge, in a generation a two, an idea for the speedy transportation of surplus foodstuffs from one nation to another. Who knows?

Which is the real point, I guess to all of this wondering: nobody will know what the potential results of such a meeting of like-minded individuals will be if it never happens. Each of us can be the estuary where new relationships, new community, and new ideas evolve from their present forms.

And there is no way to make white gravy palatable. That’s the only thing I will not allow on the agenda.

Update: 12-18-07

Here’s a picture of white gravy from a breakfast I attended this morning. The breakfast was wonderful. But I didn’t try the gravy..

white gravy

9 thoughts on “Connections

  1. I was watching the food chanel and learned the origin of Chicken Fried Stake. Appearantly there was a heavy German migration into Texas and Oklahoma. Along with that migration came Weiner Schnitzel which is a bread fried veal dish. Change veal to beef and a little of this and that and you have Chicken Fried Stake.

  2. i guess i might be considered more “texan” than you what with being brought here at such a young age … 🙂 and i cant remember ever having a chicken fried steak. up until a few years ago i didnt even understand it. chicken and steak in the same dish? how absurd. is it fried? is it steak? is it chicken? who’s to say?? …no, i dont want to try it…

    the name in itself was always what threw me, but truly, what has always made me say no thank you to the chicken fried steak, is that glob of white tasteless goop that is slathered upon it. add salt, you have salty goop. pepper? peppery goop. spices wont help it, scraping it off of anything it has touched wont help what you scraped it off of, trying to pretend that it has a taste wont fool your taste buds …

    i’ve had real gravy. thanksgiving at the Weber house….now THAT is gravy!

  3. Northern European cusines are never been known for their nuance. As we say, most of it is light as a fender.

    In Minnesota this time of year, the tasty dish is Ludefisk. It comes from great Scandanvian cooking where everything is one of two colors..white or beige. It’s made from a nice piece whitefish that has been soaked in lye…yum. Smells exactly the way you’d expect.

  4. Let’s stay away from Haggis, Blood Sausage and Black Pudding.

    On my first trip to the UK, I remember the waistress asking me if I wanted the Rolly Polly or the Spotted Dick for dessert. They’re not actually too bad.

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