Grits are a staple in any southern girl’s diet. We have them for breakfast sometimes, but all my life I’ve had grits at sunset more often than at sunrise.
My mother occasionally served a breakfast menu at suppertime. Usually country salt-cured ham and redeye gravy were part of that, along with grits, eggs, and exploding biscuits. (Thus the comment young Wallace made.) And we always had grits when we had fried fish for supper. Nowadays, breakfast menu items appear at supper in the form of omelets all year long. But when the weather is cool, we sometimes have the full meal with sausage or ham, eggs, biscuits, and grits.
Every time I make grits, I think of my friend Ferrelle. Ferrelle owned a wonderful cooking, kitchen, and gift shop, and served up fabulous ideas for enjoying life. We once had a conversation about grits which “upped my game”. Ferrelle’s advice included using stone ground grits (we favor the yellow ones from Nora’s Mill in Helen, GA), cooking them with chicken broth rather than water, and adding a bit of cream right before removing them from the heat. Oh, my. They are so rich and creamy. I vary the flavor by adding different cheeses at times, and cooked, crumbled bacon on top adds flavor and garnish.
Since Ferrelle retired, I rarely see her. But we keep in touch through mutual friends and Facebook. And I think of her often when I use a kitchen gadget that I bought from her, when I need a gift for someone and mourn the fact that her store is no longer around, but most especially when I cook grits.
In recent years, I’ve added a “grits and greens” casserole to my cooking repetoire, giving grits an excuse to appear at lunchtime or to go to a potluck dinner. A google search by for that title will yield many recipes, but Ferrelle’s advice will make any of those better, too.
There is a drawback to possessing this knowledge. Sometimes we see grits on a menu in a restaurant and order them. We are always, always, disappointed.
Photo notes: Since I seem to think everything should be a story in cloth, I’ve begun stitching on a Nora’s Mill bag. You see images of the front and backside. More work to be done, but I know you’re hungry, so go cook some grits.
Addendum: How could I forget fried grits? After I posted this, a friend reminded me, saying that her grandmother “would also refrigerate left over grits in a shallow pan, then dip chilled finger-sized slices in beaten egg and fry them like French toast. These, drenched in syrup and served with a patty of sausage, made a wonderful Sunday evening meal.”
I haven’t tried the French toast/syrup idea, but I have fried them similarly and served them as a side dish with grilled salmon or pork chops. At least once I prepared them similarly and served them as croutons on a salad of Spring Mix greens with goat cheese and prosciutto. A balsamic vinaigrette topped it off. It was wonderful. How could I have forgotten that?