Sep 5, 2019

The Proper Way To Prepare Grits

When my 3 brothers and I were growing up my mother used butter and sugar to get us to eat our grits. It worked. But being born and raised here in the Southland I know a lot of folks take exception to sugar on grits.

Let me tell you about grits. Grits are the Southern version of tofu. Grits are made from ground up hominy-- corn that has been soaked in lye. As bad as that sounds, tofu is made from soybean milk (as if there really is such a thing as soybean milk) that has been allowed to coagulate-- a process in which acids have been added to form a curd.

Sounds yummy, doesn't it?

According to Wikipedia:

"Lyes are used to cure many types of food, including the traditional Nordic lutefisk, olives (making them less bitter), canned mandarin oranges, hominy, lye rolls, century eggs, pretzels, bagels, and the traditional Turkish pumpkin dessert Kabak tatlısı[1] (creating a hard crust while the inside remains soft). They are also used as a tenderizer in the crust of baked Cantonese moon cakes, in "zongzi" (glutinous rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves), in chewy southern Chinese noodles popular in Hong Kong and southern China, and in Japanese ramen noodles. They are also used in kutsinta, a type of rice cake from the Philippines together with pitsi-pitsî.[2] In Assam, north east India, extensive use is made of a type of lye called khar in Assamese and karwi in Boro which is obtained by filtering the ashes of various banana stems, roots and skin in their cooking and also for curing, as medicine and as a substitute for soap."

And the acids used in making tofu come from vinegar or lemon juice so tofu and grits differ mostly in that they are made from different plants as even the lye itself is plant based.

Some people will tell you grits have the texture of wallpaper paste. That's actually a better description of tofu. You see, wallpaper paste is smooth and creamy, not gritty. Grits are... well, gritty. And gritty seems to be the biggest complaint most grit haters have about grits because like tofu, grits have almost no taste of their own. Which for real lovers of grits or tofu is the best thing about either one of them.

So Y'all Yankees can just quit Yer bitchen 'bout grits 'cause tofu ain't all that different.

Now that I'm grown I love grits lots of different ways. You see it isn't about the taste of the grits but the flavors you can impart upon the grits.

Grits may be served with various combinations of salt, black pepper, sweet pepper, hot pepper, sugar, shrimp, bacon, garlic, tomatos, onions, tomatillos, ham, coffee (red eye gravy) s
ausage gravy, chipped beef gravy, cheese, spices, syrups, blueberries.... The beauty of grits is that grits have almost no flavor of their own and therefore can be flavored most any way you like.

Be versatile, it prevents boredom.
And you haven't lived until you've eaten fried grits. Fried grits are yesterday's left over grits any way you like 'em, that have been chilled all night in the 'fridge, rolled into paddies, and fried until golden brown on the outside in butter or bacon grease.

Grits on a sandwich? Mix left over grits with ground meats and your choice of seasionings, make paddies, and fry them.

Or you can fry left over grits in your scrambled eggs.

Now I promise you, that's the way to eat grits. Only problem is, at my house we rarely ever have any left over grits to fry 'cause we ate 'em all the day before.