Designer Grits

Just so we can be ethnically diverse here, I have to put up this companion post to Steve’s on risotto from earlier this week. He gets to honor his Italian heritage – I get to honor my Southern redneck Scots-Irish heritage. This LA Times article says that grits are starting to move into high-end cuisine to take their rightful place alongside potates, polenta and risotto. But not your everyday off-the-shelf grits: special old-school stone-ground varieties that take two hours to cook.

Though I say I celebrate my Southern heritage by talking about grits, it is of course truly an inheritance from our Native American antecedents along with its first cousin, hominy. Hominy is another wonderful over-looked food waiting for its day in the sun. People who say they don’t like hominy have likely never tried that delicious Southwestern hominy-based stew, posole, one that I know Steve and I both like.

Grits were a staple in my family when I was growing up in Arkansas and Tennessee. We still eat them a lot and one of my great accomplishments as a parent has been passing on the love of grits to our kids.


  1. I don’t know about Cracker Barrel grits but I’ve found good grits in some unlikely places. My preference is for a generous helping of cheese added, and then to let it cool slightly so it’s more firm.

    I can tell you this: Don’t eat grits in Kansas unless you know for a fact the cook did time below the Mason Dixon.

  2. Heidi, I’ve actually had decent grits at a Cracker Barrel, of course it was in Arkansas. How far South were you on I-75? And Matt is right about cheese or butter and salt & pepper as I like.

    Matt, your advice on Kansas reminds me of one of the great truths in life that I have learned – never order Mexican food in North Dakota. I ordered a burrito at a restaurant in Fargo once. When it came it looked like a burrito. I cut it open and white stuff started oozing out. Turned out it was filled with a little bit of browned hamburger and lots of mashed potatoes. When I pointed this out to my dining companion he said, “You oughta be glad it wasn’t rutabagas!”

  3. Too funny. 🙂 There is still a bit of regionalism left to enjoy.

    Another shocker to me, and this is true everywhere in the Texas Panhandle, OK, and KA (all my hawking hot-spots), the coffee is thin as the air out there. How is that possible? I thought “coyboy coffee” was supposed to curl your socks! But no. You could actually wash your socks in the coffee we drink while cruising the Great Plains.

    I guess I’ve been spoiled in Louisiana. You can grow hydroponic tomatoes in our coffee.

  4. I remember a Mexican restaurant in Oregon that had three choices on the menu: burrito, enchilada or chimichanga. The burrito was a truckstop microwave burrito. The chimi was a microwave burrito put in the deep fryer. The enchilada was the burrito with ketchup (mild red sauce). You never know, though. There’s an improbably good Mexican joint in Gibbonsville, Idaho, a town in the woods that could star in a slasher movie. Likewise, there are surprisingly decent Chinese restaurants in some unlikely little western towns. Caveat emptor, however.

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