I like buffets. I especially like them when they support a cause I am partial to, like veterans. Buffets for me are not (necessarily) about the quantity, but rather the adventure, and finding surprises on occasion, like this morning in Genoa, Illinois. The Vet’s Home there has several events per week open to the public, including a Friday nite fish fry, a Saturday afternoon burger buffet, and, on the third Sunday of each month, a breakfast buffet from 7-11AM.
You can find their event calendar here.
Advance publicity promised a buffet rife with French toast, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy. Juice, milk, and coffee included as well.
What the advance publicity didn’t mention was that the ‘gravy’ for the biscuits came in two forms, the traditional sausage gravy and……..(drum roll)………..S.O.S. or chipped beef!!!! Man oh man. Incredible!
While it is difficult to find the origin of SOS (“shit on a shingle”), it is a dish emblematic of the U.S. Army. Dried beef in a white sauce, served on toast (shingle) is a memory for many US veterans, and possibly why it was present on the buffet today. Historical references on SOS in literature date back to at least the early 1900s.
I was going to load up on the chipped beef, a couple pounds of bacon and sausage, and be done at that. (I have a previous piece on wolfing down at a bacon buffet).
About to pass on the scrambled eggs, the server looked a little hurt, and said “you can’t pass on ‘Scooter’s’ eggs. No clue as to who or what a Scooter is, but their version of scrambled eggs included sausage bits, cheese, and some herbs.
Take a pleasant drive in the country to Genoa for one of their events, gorge yourself, help out a worthy cause.
If you’d like to make a little SOS at home in the meantime, here’s a modest recipe. (serves 60).
Genoa? No, not the city Columbus sailed from, but a town on the historic Galena – Chicago stage coach route, back in the day; named by the founder after a burg of the same moniker in New York. 30 miles SE of Rockford, 63 miles W of Chicago’s loop.
And btw, Scooter? Good job on the eggs!