A gravy is seasoned with nothing but salt and pepper, the object being to preserve the flavor of the meat. A sauce is highly seasoned to disguise poor meat, or made-over dishes, or whatever has been served so often that it begins to pall on the appetite.
An abundance of rich gravy is relished by campers who do not carry butter. They have nothing else to make their bread "slip down." Good gravy cannot be made from meat that has been fried properly or broiled, because the juice is left in the meat. Our pioneer families seldom had butter, yet they had to eat a much larger component of bread than we do, from lack of side dishes. Hence the "fried-to-a-chip" school of cookery.
In such case, the right way is obvious, granting that you have plenty of meat. Fry properly enough meat for the party and leave enough more in the pan to make gravy. Gash or mince this remainder, cook all the juice out of it without scorching, throw out the refuse meat, rub in a thickening prepared in advance as directed below, salt and pepper, then thin to the desired consistency with boiling water. The thickening is made by rubbing cold milk, or water, or broth, a little at a time, into a spoonful of flour, until a smooth paste is formed that will just drop from a spoon; or thicken with roux. Chopped liver improves a gravy.
Roux (pronounced "roo") is a thickening for gravy or soups that can be prepared at any time and kept ready for emergencies. It will keep good for months in a covered jar. A teaspoonful thickens half a pint of gravy, or a pint of soup.
Brown roux is made thus: Melt slowly ^ lb. of butter, skim it well, let it stand for a minute to settle, and pour it off from the curd. Put the clear oily butter into a pan over a slow fire, shake into it enough sifted flour (7 or 8 oz.) to make a thick paste. Stir constantly and heat slowly and evenly until it is very thick and of a bright brown color. Put it into a jar. White roux is made in the same way except that it is stirred over a very gentle fire until it is thoroughly baked but not browned. It is used for white gravy on fish, etc.
Some of the liquor in which the meat was cooked can be thickened by melting a piece of butter the size of a small egg, mixing with it very smoothly a tablespoonful of flour, heating until lightly browned, adding the meat liquor and letting it boil up. Flavor to taste and serve separately from the meat.
Use the drippings as above, and thin with boiling water in which half a teaspoonful of salt has been dissolved.
Dripping is the fat that drops from meat when roasting.
When there is no venison in camp, it will not be long before the men crave the taste of beef. Liebig's extract dissolved in boiling water and liberally salted will make a good beef gravy by letting it boil up, then simmer, and thicken in one of the ways described above.
1/2 pint milk. 1 tablespoonful butter. 1/2 tablespoonful flour. 1/2 tablespoonful salt. 1/8 tablespoonful pepper.
Heat butter in frying-pan. Add flour, stirring until smooth and frothy. . Draw pan* back and gradually stir in the milk. Then return the pan to the fire. Add salt and pepper. Stir until sauce boils. This must be used at once, and everybody's plate should be hot, of course.