Sunday, August 23, 2009

Grits

I would blog about the wedding, but I'm still lacking pictures because they didn't manage to load into Choreboy's flash drive (the thing has an attitude problem), then my mother tried to zip them into a file but the file was too big and... bleah. I give. They'll come in time, and you'll see 'em when you see 'em.

In other news, I actually made grits yesterday.

I realize that to most people, making grits just isn't a landmark event. Even down here in the New North, aka Florida, grits are a staple. You can't walk past a breakfast buffet without finding a ginormous tureen of the corny stuff staring back at you.

But I've managed to avoid grits most of my life until this point. Neither of my parents grew up in the actual South, and my mother shockingly served Cream of Wheat to her young, impressionable children. So imagine my confusion when I entered grade school and saw this lump of white-ish stuff in a compartment of my green cafeteria tray:

"Uhm, excuse me, but what's that?"

"What's what?"

"That. The white stuff. It looks a little like Cream of Wheat."

Blink. "Cream of what? Those are grits."

"Oh. What are grits?"

And this was the point where my little classmate did the first-grader version of a headdesk.

I tried the grits, due in large part to their slight resemblance to my beloved Cream of Wheat, and EEWWWWW!!! Oh they were awful. First off, I always had sweetened Cream of Wheat (to the point where I'd grab the sugar behind my mother's back after she'd cut me off and dump more in), so the fact that the grits were not at all sweet was a huge turnoff. And then there was the texture. It wasn't just awful, it was Heart of Darkness awful. I remain convinced to this day that the library paste was in large part made of the grits the cafeteria ladies scraped off when we loaded our trays into the dishwashing window.

My impression of grits didn't improve over the course of my school career. In junior high (yes I know I'm dating myself) the school foolishly chose to serve our grits to us in styrofoam bowls that fit right into the round compartments of the cafeteria trays. Since school grits are almost universally unpalatable, we would all drink our little cartons of milk at the beginning of the meal and use four of them to support one upended bowl of grits. Over the entire year of seventh grade, those grits never even budged from the bottom of the bowl.

Not once.

I had friends try to convince me that grits were actually good, that school grits were nothing to judge by, but I was having none of it. By high school I was a self-described grit-hater. My friend Eric used to get really irritated with that term, "Grits are always plural! They are never singular! You cannot go into a restaurant and order a single grit!!"

And then he'd commence with the headdesking. I seemed to have that effect on some people.

Flash forward to this past week. Choreboy and I were at Epcot and had lunch at the Coral Reef restaurant the first day. One of the offerings was fried catfish on a bed of -- you guessed it -- grits. Pepperjack cheese grits, but grits nonetheless.

All I could do was wonder what in the world the catfish ever did to deserve that fate.

At any rate, we finally made it past the mandatory 90-minute waiting period for seating, and of course Choreboy ordered the Grits Special... erm, I mean the fried catfish. With the grits. But when it arrived at our table it looked... inoffensive. And even, dare I say it, potentially tasty. I sucked up nearly four decades of disgust and tried a little forkful; after that, the man was lucky he got to eat any of his meal.

So yesterday we were at a loss for what to do for dinner. We'd gone with frozen pizza on Friday night and a repeat just wasn't in the cards. There had been a healthy-eating overload which made us consider making this (entitled Dad's Cheesy Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf, for those who don't feel like clicking -- clearly not health food), but I had only one pound of ground beef, and an iffy pound at that.

Fortunately for us, Chopped was on TV. For the sake of reference, Chopped features four chefs who compete by creating three different meal courses with a box of mystery ingredients they are given at the beginning of each round. At the end of each course/ round, one chef is "chopped" from the competition, resulting in the final two chefs battling it out over dessert (which last night involved celery -- I kid you not). Anyway, one of the surprise ingredients for the main course on this episode was quick grits. And that got my little mind churning.

"Honey, do you have any grits?"

"Yes, baby. But don't worry -- they're out of sight so you won't be damaged by their presence."

"Want to cook some grits?"

Thuddd.

After I peeled Choreboy off the floor, we headed into the kitchen and located the box of quick grits in the far upper reaches of the pantry. Since the pepperjack was excellent at Epcot, and we had almost two whole bricks of it, we sacrificed the almost-whole block of cheese to the shredder. We also had about half a pound of pre-cubed ham, which went into a small pan for heating/frying.

Tossed in some butter, a dash of milk, salt, coarsely-ground pepper, and a dash of garlic powder, mixed it all up, and wow.

Choreboy was in heaven, and said at least five times that he couldn't believe I actually made grits. He knocked back two large bowls of the stuff, and I had two small ones.

There was not total joy in Mudville, though. The boys were disgusted by even the sight of grits. To be fair, the Elder tried a taste, bravely swallowed, and politely declined further servings.

The Gum Zombie just gagged dramatically and flailed about on the floor in a feigned fit.

Clearly they are my spawn.

5 comments:

Choreboy said...

The boys eat wheat bread... voluntarily. I can't expect miracles:)

Amanda said...

Oy gevalt. Babe, you're going to get those kids eating only processed white flour right about the time it penetrates your amazingly thick skull that perhaps people should eat whole grains...

*headdesk*

Angel said...

You and R are so alike. He flinches at the mere mention of grits. But then again he is a YANKEE ::shudder::

Me, I loves em :D

Amanda said...

Angel, well, never let it be said that I'm too set in my ways!

Unlike SOME people (*ahem* CHOREBOY), who don't even like pasta. I mean, seriously... it's pasta. White flour, even. What's not to love?

Mauigirl said...

I have to say I don't think I've ever tried grits in my life. But if you add enough cheese and accoutrements to anything I guess it can be good!