Friday, June 15, 2007

The Wonder That is Grits

Today, I am going to blog about the wonder that is grits.

What is a grit, you people-other-than-southerners would say? says, "Grits are small broken grains of corn. They were first produced by Native Americans centuries ago. They made both "corn" grits and "hominy" grits."

According to wikipedia, "The word "grits" comes from Old English grytta meaning a coarse meal of any kind. Yellow grits include the whole kernel, while white grits use hulled kernels. Grits is prepared by simply boiling into a porridge; normally it is boiled until enough water evaporates to leave it semi-solid. It is traditionally served during breakfast, but can be used at any meal."

Some grits trivia...

1. Three-quarters of grits sold in the United States is sold in the "grits belt" stretching from Louisiana to North Carolina (wikipedia)

2. South Carolina declared grits its state food in 1973, writing, "Whereas, throughout its history, the South has relished its grits, making them a symbol of its diet, its customs, its humor, and its hospitality, and whereas, every community in the State of South Carolina used to be the site of a grist mill and every local economy in the State used to be dependent on its product; and whereas, grits has been a part of the life of every South Carolinian of whatever race, background, gender, and income; and whereas, grits could very well play a vital role in the future of not only this State, but also the world, if as The Charleston News and Courier proclaimed in 1952: 'An inexpensive, simple, and thoroughly digestible food, [grits] should be made popular throughout the world. Given enough of it, the inhabitants of planet Earth would have nothing to fight about. A man full of [grits] is a man of peace.'" (wikipedia)

3. Grits are made from the milling of corn kernels. The first step in the process is to clean the kernels; then, the grains are steamed for a short time to loosen the tough outer hull. The grain kernel is split, which removes the hull and germ, leaving the broken endosperm. Heavy steel rollers break up the endosperm into granules, which are separated by a screening process. The large-size granules are the grits; the smaller ones become cornmeal and corn flour. (

4. St. George, SC is the home to the World's Grits Festival in April.

5. Bands have had the word "grits" in their name... Harmony Grits Bluegrass Band, and the 70's -80's Grits, from Washington DC.

6. Warwick, GA has a National Grits Festival also in April. Plus they even have their own grits theme song.

7. Of course we can't forget G.R.I.T.S. - Girls Raised in the South...Deborah Ford's books are a hoot and not only southern women will enjoy her southern brand of humor.

I could go on and on, but basically there are a ton of uses for grits as well as tons of recipes. Grits are thought to be a southern staple, but studies show that grits are crossing the Mason Dixon line and are used in a variety of ways. So, this Sunday I give thanks for grits - instant and regular. How good they are.