These pictures are from back in June of 1993, I think. Hubby and I (and Older Son when he was a baby) had gone out to my folks for a meal. Here's a picture of Mom's fried chicken, with a stuffed tiger named "Hobbes" looking on and wanting to eat it all, I'm sure.
Here is Mom in her "corner," making gravy ... that was a great electric skillet, stainless steel.
Of course, mashed potatoes figured into this meal as well.
When I was growing up, we'd have fried chicken every so often. Mom would cut up a whole fryer chicken from the store. I'm sure as she was growing up on the farm, they had a much "closer to home" selection of chickens! She has told me of Grandma W catching and cleaning chickens. (I also learned to cut up a whole chicken by watching Mom, and later cutting them up myself.) Then she would take a paper sack and put in a good amount of flour plus seasonings. I think it was salt, pepper, paprika, and I'm not sure what, or if, anything else, maybe garlic powder? Onion Powder? Anyway, very basic. Meanwhile, the skillet would have Crisco heated and melted in it, hot and ready to go. She didn't use oil, she used Crisco shortening. A few pieces would be put in the sack of seasoned flour at a time, the top scrunched shut, and shaken to coat. Then the coated pieces laid in the hot grease. Once all the pieces were in, they were browned on one side, then turned and browned on the other. Then covered with the lid and simmered for another half hour? I think an hour total is what we fried it for, checking and turning occasionally, if necessary. Then take the chicken out and put it on a platter. In the picture above, that's one of the fancy platters from a Depression Glass set ("Madrid" pattern) she had that was Grandma C's (Dad's mom). The chicken was usually put on an "everyday" platter otherwise.
For the gravy, take out most of the grease, but leave some, including the bits and pieces of coating from the chicken. Put a big spoon or two of the leftover seasoned flour in the grease, stir to combine, cook a bit. Add milk, add salt and pepper, stir to thicken. If too thick, add more milk and bring to a simmer again. It should have a nice, "bubbly" appearance on the surface as it simmers, not too thin, not too thick. We would eat this not only over mashed potatoes, but also over a slice of bread. Yuuuum, yum.