“What’s a grit?”
Someone actually asked me that question years ago. I am fully aware that there are grit-haters out there, but I have sympathy for those deprived of this Southern cuisine. I am certain they have never had grits prepared the way they should be, because these same haters often love Polenta, which is basically the same thing.
Tonight at dinner, I was sitting across the table from a British gentleman, here to lecture on C.S. Lewis. He was expressing his enjoyment of the South during his visit, and “threw in” the comment that he liked everything about it except grits.
Curious about his view of this culinary conundrum, I asked him to tell me why he felt that way. He admitted that his singular experience with grits occurred in 1975. In his velvety British accent he said, “I believe it was something about the texture, but my memory is dim.” Then came his attempt to imitate a Southern drawl, “However, I DO like the idea of “Y’all have some grits,” Huckleberry Finn and all!”
After I stopped laughing, I made sure he acquiesced to the notion that perhaps he should give grits another chance. I propose that if I can make this recipe (see below) for him before he and his wife return to their cottage in the Cotswolds, he will be converted.
My friend Charlsie, also enjoying our highly intellectual conversation, added that her grand-kids refer to our Southern delicacy as “Grips”! Now, somehow I think people around the world might find grits more interesting with that slight naming variation.
So I defy anyone, even friends across the pond in Britain, to have disdain for grits if prepared according to this easy and delicious recipe. In the spirit of “gripping” the heart of the world to begin loving grits as we do, I am revealing my secret to perfect grits… with a new name.
3 C water
1/4 C butter
1 t minced garlic (or garlic powder)
1/2 t salt
1 C half & half (or whole cream)
1 C quick grits
Ground black pepper
Bring water, butter, garlic and salt to a boil. Add cream, then immediately start slowly adding grits while stirring with a whisk. Continue to whisk on high heat until you see that there are no lumps (about one minute). Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover for two minutes. Stir with whisk. Cover for two minutes. Add ground black pepper to taste, stir with whisk, remove from heat and cover until ready to serve.
Enjoy your “Grips” with breakfast (eggs over-easy is a typical Southern companion to grits) or with shrimp for a special brunch or dinner!
Warning: Do not attempt this recipe if you are on a diet. These grits are habit-forming.