Cream Gravy is a very thick, light coloured gravy flecked with crisp bits from the pan, made particularly in the American south.
To make Cream Gravy, you leave a couple of tablespoons of the oil, lard or drippings in the frying pan along with the brown bits from the frying. You stir in some flour, let it cook to make a roux, then add milk to make a white sauce, then season with salt and pepper (variations will add a few dashes of hot sauce.) Thin with more milk if too thick. More frugal versions use half milk, half water.
It is usually made with chicken, particularly chicken fried steak. In many homes in the American south, Southern fried chicken is never served without it. It is also served with ham.
Some detractors say that when you put it on anything, particularly biscuits, it looks like cat vomit.
Cream Gravy was also being made in Alberta, Canada, in the first half of the 1900s. Jean Paré, Canada’s pre-eminent food writer, remembers “Mom used to fry the burgers then deglaze the pan with milk, scraping all the tasty brown bits into the gravy for flavour and colour. It’s best not to use a Teflon-coated pan for this, because you won’t get the delicious brown bits.”
— in Schultz, Judy. Jean Paré: An Appetite for Life. Edmonton, Alberta: Company’s Company Publishing Limited. 2006. Page 124.