It’s just gravy (or not).

I was tired and hungry. As usual, there was nothing in the house.

A quick inventory of the refrigerator revealed some mushrooms in need of use. There were some potatoes on the top of the microwave. That’s it, I thought: mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy. That would work.

I started to sauté the mushrooms. Gravity increased. I really didn’t want to peel potatoes. I could just eat gravy.

Perhaps I’m just too linguistically bound. There’s just something not right about that. No one eats just gravy. Gravy implies a surfeit. A person has too many things— so the rest are just gravy.

It’s an addition, a side-dish, a garnish— not a meal.

My legs were nagging. I needed something simple, and the mushrooms were nearly browned.

Suddenly, in a flash of inspiration, my gravy became soup. Soup is okay— cream of mushroom soup, that’s it! A little pepper, some flour, some onion . . . Soup is the catch-all cleaning the refrigerator type meal.

It couldn’t be gravy!