The derisive native Floridian term for grits. In the good ol' days, Georgians would eat grits 3 meals a day. Of course, in the modern world of fast food and chain restaurants, even Georgians eat potatoes instead of grits for breakfast anymore. And given the flavorless nature of the large regional and national brand "quick grits" and "instant grits," who can blame them?
Real Southern grits, according to Mark Dixon (aka Captain Zen) are the coarse grind from the old stone grinding mills. The fine grind is cornmeal. There are hominy grits around, but these aren't quite the same. Polenta pretty much is the same thing though. If people object to grits, tell them you're serving polenta.
Grits should be served with salt, pepper, butter and redeye gravy. A few drops of Tabasco or other red pepper sauce are permissable. No milk and sugar!!! They aren't oatmeal or cream of wheat. OK, some people cook them in milk instead of water. But don't pour milk on them.
Redeye gravy is made by pouring coffee into the hot skillet after you fry the country ham slices. You don't need a thickener.
My Tasting Notes
The 1890's style grits sold by the Agrirama are great. No, they don't taste like chicken. Chicken doesn't even taste like chicken anymore. These grits taste sorta like popcorn actually. http://www.agrirama.com/ . Buy some today and tell Captain Zen I sent you.
Carolina Plantation grits are very good also. They seem to be a bit creamier than Agrirama grits, but not quite as tasty. I think it's the variety of corn Agrirama uses is somewhat better. But I won't complain about Carolina Plantation http://www.carolinaplantationrice.com/detail.aspx?ID=4.
These grits are made the right way, but they aren't as good as Georgia grits: www.byrdmill.com .
I tried Lakeside Mills yellow corn grits. They're not bad, but I find them better for making cheese grits than breakfast. The mill has a long history in NC. I'm sure some of my ancestors ate grits from this mill: http://www.ncagr.com/ncproducts/ShowSite.asp?ID=1681.
I was disappointed in Hoover Mill grits. The problem, as I see it, is that they only sell quick grits. I don't know how they make grits "quick." I don't know because I don't want to know. My position on such matters is the same as Mr. Tipton's in the movie, My Cousin Vinny (see below). I wonder if their corn meal is better: http://www.williamsfamilyfarm.com/cornmeal&grits.htm
Organic yellow corn grits sold by Whole Foods. Disappointing.
Jim Dandy - I remember them as being somewhat bland, but I recently bought their best old-fashioned product. Now that I've tried them again, I am sad to say that my memory is correct. They're bland.
Big national chain with a picture of an 18th century Pennsylvania religious character on the box. Bland gummy stuff, proving that Yankees don't know grits from Shinola. I won't even mention the name. I'm sure you can find them.
Grits and mushrooms
I haven't tried this recipe yet because I just thought it up. Cook grits and mushrooms (I'd use portobellos or a wild member of the Agaricus genus if you have them) separately. Then use a recipe for a cheese grits loaf, adding the mushrooms with the cheese, butter and eggs. I'll share the details after I experiment a bit.
Experimentation notes: I made a batch using wild Agaricus and Plantation grits. Not bad, but not much mushroom flavor came through.
My Cousin Vinny - grits cooking cross-examination scene
This cross-examination scene from the movie My Cousin Vinny reflects my position on instant grits.
And quick grits.
Vinny Gambini: Is it possible the 2 defendants...
[looks at judge]
Vinny Gambini: went into the Sac-O-Suds, picked 22 specific items off of the shelf, had the clerk take the money, make change, then leave. Then 2 different men, drive up...
[Seeing Mr. Tipton shake his head no]
Vinny Gambini: Don't shake your head I'm not finished yet. Wait until you hear the whole thing you can understand what it is that I'm askin'. Then, two different men drive up in a similar looking car, do into the store, shoot the clerk, rob him, then leave?
Mr. Tipton: No. They didn't have enough time.
Vinny Gambini: Why not? How long was they in the store for?
Mr. Tipton: 5 minutes.
Vinny Gambini: 5 minutes? How do you know? Did you look at your watch?
Mr. Tipton: No.
Vinny Gambini: Oh, oh, oh, you tesitfied earlier that you saw the boys go into the store, and you had just begun to cook your breakfast and you were just getting ready to eat when you heard the shot.
Mr. Tipton: That's right.
Vinny Gambini: So obviously it takes you 5 minutes to cook your breakfast.
Mr. Tipton: That's right.
Vinny Gambini: That's right, so you knew that. You remember what you had?
Mr. Tipton: Eggs and grits.
Vinny Gambini: Eggs and grits. I like grits, too. How do you cook your grits? Do you like them regular, creamy or al dente?
Mr. Tipton: Just regular I guess.
Vinny Gambini: Regular. Instant grits?
Mr. Tipton: No self respectin' Southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits.
Vinny Gambini: So, Mr. Tipton, how could it take you 5 minutes to cook your grits when it takes the entire grit eating world 20 minutes?
Mr. Tipton: I don't know, I'm a fast cook I guess.
Vinny Gambini: I'm sorry I was all the way over here I couldn't hear you did you say you were a fast cook, that's it?
Mr. Tipton: Yeah.
Vinny Gambini: Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than anywhere else on the face of the earth?
Mr. Tipton: I don't know.
Vinny Gambini: Well, I guess the laws of physics cease to exist on top of your stove. Were these magic grits? Did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans? (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104952/quotes)