Last year, Ruth Ann's Restaurant owner Mary Heisey got a call from a Fort Benning official begging her to open the eatery on Thanksgiving Day.
Three classes at Fort Benning were graduating on Wednesday and the soldiers were only getting two days off. That was not enough time for most of them to get home for Thanksgiving, which meant their families were coming to Columbus.
Heisey said her staff was enthusiastic about opening and the restaurant, a favorite of military personnel, was busy for the four hours it opened.
Then something funny happened while they were open.
The phone kept ringing.
"People were calling, asking how to make gravy and asking turkey questions," she said.
Her sister, Lisa Kean, the restaurant's head chef, laughed and said maybe they should open a Thanksgiving Day hotline.
Of course, Heisey couldn't give the recipe over the phone repeatedly. She finally told people to come to the restaurant and she would sell them the gravy.
This year, the restaurant will be closed, but Kean is sharing her family's turkey gravy recipe.
It's the one her mother, Ruth Ann, cooked for the family and continues to make. Kean has been making it in the restaurant for almost 18 years.
Heisey has been making the gravy since she was a child.
"I hope people make good gravy for their family this year," Kean said. "It's very simple."
Ruth Ann's Turkey Gravy
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
4 sticks of butter (or margarine), melted
3 cups of all-purpose flour
48 ounces of chicken stock
48 ounces of turkey stock
Melt the butter, making sure it's not scorched.
In a six-quart pot, saute the celery and onion in a little butter until translucent. Add the pepper and dried parsley flakes and mix well. Take off the stove.
In a medium-sized bowl, add the melted butter and flour and mix very well, until the consistency is stiff. This will be the roux.
Add the chicken and turkey stocks to the pot with the vegetables. (Make the turkey stock using the liquid in the pan after roasting the turkey. Scrape the bottom of the pan and add water and simmer for an hour or so.)
Bring it to a hard, roiling boil.
Start adding the roux. Let it continue to boil to the consistency you want, adding more roux for a thicker gravy.
This recipe makes about two quarts.