Hugh Fulford: The Nitty-gritty About Grits

hugh’s news & Views


Recently, I engaged in a very "philosophical" on-line discussion about grits. Feelings ran high! My friend, Larry Whitehead, of Birmingham, Ala., sent me a wonderful history on grits that I am all too happy to claim as my own views about the subject. I hope this erudite essay with help all readers to better understand "The Nitty-Gritty About Grits."

What are grits? Nobody knows for sure. Some folks believe grits are grown on bushes and are harvested by midgets by shaking the bushes after spreading sheets around them. Better informed folks believe that grits are made from ground-up bits of white corn.

The most recent research suggests that the mysterious manna that God rained down upon the Israelites during their time in the Sinai Desert most likely was grits. Critics disagree, stating that there is no record of biscuits, butter, salt, and red eye gravy raining down from the sky, and that God would not punish His people by forcing them to eat grits without these key ingredients.

Yankees have attempted to create synthetic grits. They call it Cream of Wheat. As far as we can tell, the key ingredients of Cream of Wheat are Elmer’s Glue and shredded Styrofoam. These synthetic grits have also been shown to cause nausea, and may leave you unable to have children.

With reference to the history of grits, as we mentioned earlier, the first known mention of grits was by the ancient Israelites in the Sinai Desert. After that, grits were not heard from for another 1,000 years.

The next mention of grits was found amidst the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii in a woman’s personal diary. The woman’s name was Herculaneum Jemimaneus (Aunt Jemima to her friends).

The proper way to eat grits is as follows: Immediately after removing your grits from the stove top, add a generous portion of butter. (Warning: Do not use low-fat butter). The butter should cause the grits to turn a wondrous shade of yellow. (Hold a banana or a yellow rain slicker next to your grits; if the colors match, you have the correct amount of butter). My daddy loved to mix scrambled eggs or over-easy fried eggs with his grits. I love eggs and grits that way, too.

In lieu of butter, pour a generous helping of red-eye gravy on your grits. Be sure to pour enough to have some left for sopping up with your biscuits. Never, ever substitute canned or store-bought biscuits for the real thing because they cause cancer, rotten teeth, and impotence.

Next, add salt. (The correct ratio of grits to salt is 10:1, meaning that for every ten grits, you should have one grain of salt.) Now, begin eating your grits. Always use a fork, never a spoon, to eat grits. Your grits should be thick enough that they do not run through the tines of the fork.

The proper beverage to serve with grits is black coffee. Do not use cream or — heaven forbid — skimmed milk in your coffee. Your grits should never be eaten in a bowl because Yankees will think it is Cream of Wheat.

Yum-yum! What’s for breakfast (or even supper on a cold winter evening), grandpa?

Hugh Fulford
March 15, 2011

#corn, #diet, #grits, #southern-cuisine