Kiss My Grits

Next time you have a dinner party try this. Cook up a pot full of ground corn meal. Mix in some butter, salt and cheese. When your guests ask what it is, tell them it’s polenta. They’ll ooh and aah and compliment you on your international palate.

Then, a few weeks later, do it again. Only this time tell them that it’s grits. If you live outside of the South, you risk their derision. They’ll laugh at you behind your back. Question your pedigree. And quite possibly drop you from the gourmet dinner group.

But polenta and grits are essentially the same thing. Only one has cache. The other doesn’t.

For some reason, grits, more than any other food I know of, carries with it a taint of uneducated, backwoods, redneck miasma. Something the Beverly Hillbillies would’ve served as a side dish to possum friccasse.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve washed down grits with Cristal champagne. I’ve served them with my finest linen, china and sterling silver.

Around here, grits are the rule, not the exception.

Like pasta, rice and boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grits are a palate. Begging for butter, cheese, herbs and savory goodness.

The most common way you see grits served in Middle Tennessee is in a casserole. Every cook worth her Henkel knives has her own recipe.

Here’s mine, before they are cooked:

uncooked grits

 And here’s the recipe:

3 c water

1 c quick cooking grits (not instant)

1 stick butter

1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 can diced Rotel tomatos

handful snipped fresh chives or tablespoon dried

2 eggs

1 cup milk (any will do)


paprika, chili powder, cayenne

Bring water to a boil and stir in grits. Cover and cook over very low heat for two minutes. Stir grits and cover, move off heat.

After a couple of minutes, stir grits until smooth.

Add butter and cheese.

Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Blend grits, cheese and butter.

Add garlic, Rotel and chives… stir

blend eggs into milk

Add to grits

Add salt to taste

Dust top with paprika, chili powder, cayenne

Bake at 350 for approx. 1 hour, or until middle is set.

 cooked grits

These grits are especially good with grilled meat, like my shish kabobs…


The moral of the story is this…grits are good. Really, they are. Give them a try.



Filed under Recipe

11 responses to “Kiss My Grits

  1. karen a

    And yours are the best!

  2. I’ll be trying this – I’ve always wondered what “grits” was/were, and what it/they tasted like. Sounds at least as exotic to me as polenta. One thing though – what can I use to substitute Rotel (it’ll be a while yet before globalistion makes this available here, I imagine)?

  3. I’ve been down South for over 25 years and can only grudgingly tolerate grits. I think of them as the Southern equivalent of Cream of Wheat – mush that you have to doctor to make it taste like something. I suppose the problem is that the only place I see them are from a big pot at the local Shoney’s or independent greasy spoon. Edible; but, not appetizing.

  4. Mmm, love those grits the way you make them!

  5. The first place I ever ate a grit (channel My Cousin Vinny) was in a Shoney’s in Huntington, WV. I ordered bacon and eggs, which came without toast and with this stuff. The waitress did call me Honey. We discussed butter with salt and pepper and sugar and butter. I tried both. If I’m going to eat them savory is better than sweet.

    I was going to add a paragraph about okra to the comment. I’ve tasted it once. The once should explain my feelings.

  6. Niece Lash

    I LOVE your grits. They are to die for…I can’t believe you don’t like okra. Really???!!!

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