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It consists of soft dough biscuits covered in either sawmill or sausage gravy, made from the drippings of cooked pork sausage, white flour, milk, and often (but not always) bits of sausage, bacon, ground beef, or other meat. The gravy is often flavored with black pepper.
American English and British English use the word "biscuit" to refer to two distinctly different modern foods. Early hard biscuits (North American: cookies) were derived from a twice-baked bread, whereas the North American biscuit is similar to a savoury European scone.
Early European settlers in the United States brought with them a simpler and easy style of cooking, most often based on meat, ground wheat and warmed with gravy. After the first pigs were carried from England to Jamestown, Virginia in 1608, they became popular as a home-grown edible animal.
The meal emerged as a distinct regional dish after the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), when stocks of food stuffs were in short supply. Breakfast was necessarily the most substantial meal of the day in the South, for a person facing a day of work on the plantations. While everyone wanted something different[clarification needed] and distinct from the British, the lack of supplies and money meant it also had to be cheap.
While biscuits and gravy generally refers to sausage gravy, it can also refer to egg gravy, made in one of two ways:
Tomato gravy is white gravy mixed with crushed or diced tomatoes.
In West Virginia (maybe other places), a variation is made using bacon grease / drippings.