How to cook grits that aren’t just your average grits
This is really about how to cook grits.
But, we have to get there first, through my northerner’s love of all hot-cereals-for-breakfast. The grit-cooking segment is actually very simple, which involves no more than buying the right grits, and implementing a little patience over a hot stove. There’s a cute little video to help you with that portion.
Growing up grits-deprived
I loved Cream of Wheat and Cream of Rice, even Malt-o-Meal, when I was a kid.
I say this by way of easing into an explanation of the I-love-grits fetish I’ve adopted as a half-back resident of Wilmington North Carolina. Which means part of the blame for my love of grits can be laid squarely in Florida, where I lived for ten years, before moving here, which is kind of, at least from a Wilmington local’s perspective, half-way back to my hometown of Chicago.
When I was young, up north, my mom made me those cream-of cereals every morning. This was before there were “quick” or “instant” or “microwave” versions. She cooked them in the small copper-bottom Revere Ware, served them with sugar and milk, and then complained mightily about washing the sticky mess from the saucepan.
I ate Cream ofs with my grandfather. They were “old people” food. I ate Cream ofs with my kids. They were baby food. Yes, I had low standards and a penchant for bland comfort food.
That first Grits experience
Grits (dictionary.com) 1. Also called hominy grits, coarsely ground hominy, boiled and sometimes then fried, eaten as a breakfast dish or as a side dish with meats.
In the north, when you go out to eat breakfast, you are offered a choice of “hashbrowns or homefries.” My Cream ofs passion was strictly indulged in the privacy of my own morning kitchen.
In the South, which includes Florida, you are offered a choice of “potatoes or grits.”
Those grits are generally of the soupy, ghost-white variety. But, they were my first step into grit heaven, which became my socially-acceptable foodie substitute for all those Cream ofs. Be still my heart, the grits adventure was just beginning.
If you buy the right grits, and learn how to cook grits with the appropriate amount of Southern love, with some butter, and maybe a little cheddar cheese, they can be near to the perfect breakfast side dish. Move over potatoes. (My friend Bobi was quick to text me a pic of her favorite grits, above. Using a good brand makes a difference.)
How to cook grits
Here’s a lovely, quick tutorial:
Ramping up the Southern in your grits
Southern foodies and readers, please chime in below, as I know you will have a strong suggestion on the best way to cook, and serve, grits.
My passion now is for good stone ground grits, with cheddar cheese, and maybe a little crumbled bacon. Add an egg, over easy.
Then there’s shrimp and grits, which is where my “7 Shrimp and Grits in 7 Days Challenge,” came from. An easy task in Wilmington as almost every restaurant here has its own version of that ubiquitous southeast coastal dish.
Yes, I did it. I ate shrimp and grits at seven different restaurants in seven days. Wilmington, it was on.
More on that foodie adventure to follow.
7 thoughts on “How to cook grits that aren’t just your average grits”
This is where to get the best grits in the world. When I had a gourmet food and wine and gift basket shop on Oak Island, I sold grits from this place – and then I visited these lovely folks when I drove across the country in 2004. Some day, I’d like to go back and stay in the bed and breakfast.
I’m ordering! Thanks for the tip.
I have never really understood grits. As an Australian I only ever read about them in books and I always thought they were some deep fried oily meal. But they look a bit more like what we would call porridge. But porridge is made from oats and milk.
Porridge is the equivalent of our oatmeal, which is either made from rolled oats (mushy) or from steel cut oats (hearty, chewy texture). Grits can go either sweet or savory, and are often used with lunch or dinner dishes as the carb, instead of rice. They are definitely one of those food items that take on the personality of what you put into them and pair them with!
Full disclosure–I’m a Yankee so what would I know about grits! But I had the best grits of my life at Magnolias in Charleston. Thanks to Chef Donald Barickman I learned the secret of making grits with chicken broth, and adding some heavy cream near the end of cooking. People will come back for more!
Anything with heavy cream!