Growing up I never heard of rice and gravy. I knew of and loved rice, same thing for gravy, but I never thought of combining the two.
When there isn't any meat to be had, and you’re hungry then something filling and cheap is required, and rice and gravy fits that bill. Perhaps in modern times people of some substance might serve it on their polished tables, but in days gone by it was dog trot cabin food.
Good rice isn't hard to come by or prepare, that’s not the challenge, but there is a lot of bad gravy to be had. The worst is made by making a béchamel sauce and using too much flour. Also in the worst ever category is one made from a roux, by someone who doesn't know the tender loving care a good roux requires. These two examples can only be compared to glue. Yuck.
If you happen to be making fried chicken, you are set for a good gravy.
Is it healthy? No. I can't think of a way a pan gravy can be made that would not make most doctors and nutritionists freak out.
Pan drippings from fried chicken
2-3 tablespoons flour
1-2 cups milk (or cream)
Salt and pepper
Note; this is a recipe that exact quantities of ingredients cannot be listed, take it one step at a time and taste as you go.
Strain most of the oil from the pan drippings, but not all. Put it in a sauté pan and heat to medium. Add a little of the flour and slowly brown, whisk in some milk, (you do not want lumpy gravy), then season with salt and pepper. Simmer until it does not thicken any more. Taste and add milk or seasoning as required.
This recipe takes some experience to make well, but don't despair if it isn't as good as you wished. Keep trying till you get it right.