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Who Says Grits Ain't Groceries?

Today's Charlotte Observer feature on grits calls the Southern staple a "warm hug from a bowl."

Grits have a thermonuclear nature, taking forever to cool down and often burning the sin off your tongue even when you think they're safe to eat. But there's something about a nice creamy bowl of grits. (Random shout out to Little Milton for singing about them.)

I grew up on grits, with my Grandmother Carrie keeping the yellow kind -- preferred to white -- in a canister on her kitchen counter. They were usually served along with country ham, biscuits or on their own with a little butter, salt and pepper.

For those of you born outside the South: grape jelly is never an acceptable add-in for grits. They're not oatmeal or Cream of Wheat, y'all. Leave the sweet stuff out.

When Scott and I married, our reception menu included grit cakes with tasso gravy. There was also a cheese castle but that's another story. We didn't get much time to enjoy them, with greetings and dancing and garter-tossing, but we heard they were delicious. Never had a grit cake? This seems like a tasty recipe.

The Observer article shares how to make a "grits bar." We did an abbreviated version of this for our New Years Eve get-together. Scott made the shrimp and a fantastic roux that may be the best thing this life can offer. The holy trinity of celery, pepper and onion, the browned butter and flour, and the tender shrimp... whew. A significant dish from my significant other, that's for sure.

To save stove space and time, I cooked the grits in a Crock Pot. I doubled the recipe and forgot to add salt -- an unforgivable error in most cases, but some post-cooking seasoning seemed to help. While scurrying around to finish the rest of the meal, I occasionally ducked over to the Crock Pot to add milk when the grits looked a little thick. Fact: grits turn into concrete if neglected for too long.

For toppings, we served sharp cheddar, Parmesan, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and chopped green onions. Scott's shrimp and roux crowned the plates, and we happily dined and ushered in 2015. (Some of us were "over-served" and thus are on a different meal and drink plan in the New Year, but again, that's another story for another time.)

Did you grow up on grits? How do you enjoy yours? Are you grits-averse? Let us know!


  1. As a kid of Cuban parents growing up in Florida and Houston, TX - it was something had in restaurants (eg - Shoney's, Jerry's, Kip's, etc.). My step-grandfather from Washington, DC grew up eating hominy. But mercifully, grits were meant to be eaten with butter, and a bit of salt and pepper. Given the choice, I prefer grits over 'home fries' (which seems to be the most popular breakfast side here in Maryland).

    I discovered shrimp and grits, of course, in Charleston in 1990. I was visiting there with my roommate whose hometown it was. We went to the uber-touristy AW Shucks and he strongly recommended it (along with the she-crab soup). Without a doubt, I became an instant convert.

    Thanks for the write-up! -jimmyG

  2. Jim we're on the same page! I am kinda picky though about ordering grits out -- sometimes they're too runny or cakey. And now you have me craving some she-crab soup!!!


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