Kiss My Grits

John W. Pinkerton

Most Yankees turn their noses up at the mention of grits.  In the South we say, “More, please.”

Grits, of course, is a regional food popular only south of the Mason-Dixon line.

If you were to eat grits straight off the griddle, you would probably react by saying that they don’t have much taste.  Like potatoes and rice, the taste comes from what you add to the grits.

Most folks in the South prefer salt, pepper, and butter added to their serving of grits.  Personally I also like to mix sunny-side-up eggs cut up and mixed with my grits.  A little hot sauce doesn’t hurt grits either.  Truthfully almost anything which suits your tastebuds can be added to grits.

I’ve heard of folks who like to add sugar to their grits, but I suspect these folks have Yankee leanings.

Even if grits aren’t your favorite food, you can’t say they’re not filling.  Janis Owens, author of The Cracker Kitchen, says of grits, “Grits are hot; they are abundant, and they will by-gosh stick to your ribs.  Give your farmhands (that is, your children) cold cereal for breakfast and see how many rows they hoe.  Make them a pot of grits and butter, and they’ll hoe till dinner and be glad to do it.”

Good old Native Americans were the first to produce grits.  Corn grits are made from corn of course.  It is produced letting the corn dry a bit and grinding it to a…well, grit texture.  There’s also hominy grits.  I don’t like hominy corn, but the grits ain’t bad.

There’s more than one way to create grits: one method soaks the corn in lye for a while.  The prospect of ingesting lye may not be very appealing to most folks, but we in the South don’t mind living on the edge.

When I was a little fellow, I preferred cream of wheat which is made from ground wheat kernels and has a smoother texture.  However as I’ve grown older and more gritty myself, I’ve begun to prefer grits.

I tried to find something interesting about grits other than the fact that they’ll fill you up, but the only thing I came up with was Florence Jean Castleberry, a character in the movie Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and the subsequent TV show Alice, whose punch line was, “Kiss my grits!” which was Florence Jean’s go-to for telling someone off.

Well, there is one more thing: G.R.I.T.S. has become a popular and most appropriate acronym for girls raised in the South.  The following is an example of how a GRITS gal might act in the following situation: two women, a Southern Belle and a Northerner, are sitting beside each other on a plane. The Belle turns to the other and drawls, “Where y’all from?”

The other woman replies, “I’m from a place where we do not end our sentences in prepositions!”

A long silence ensued.  Finally, the Belle asked, “Where y’all from…bitch?”

Of course, Flo would have simply said, “Kiss my grits.”



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