HG loves grits. There was a time when you had to travel south to get a bowl of grits. Now grits making an appearance on menus all over the USA. Shrimp and grits (An HG favorite) is being devoured at a half dozen Santa Fe eateries. Best ever shrimp and grits were served at Chicago’s Soul Kitchen (closed, alas) and best cheese grits were found up north at the lovely Griswold Inn, Lyme, Conn. HG isn’t snobbish about grits. Enjoys them at Waffle House topped by eggs and flanked by crisp fried potatoes. Quaker Oats Instant Grits provide a quick and pleasant breakfast when adorned with a lump of butter, salt, pepper and a dash of Tabasco. (Don’t sneer. Try it). For some peculiar reason, grits are not sold on Prince Edward Island. Maybe they represent a challenge to the Island’s omnipresent and delicious mineral rich potatoes. So, when HG/BSK voyage to the family summer home on this serene and beautiful Canadian isle, HG/BSK always pack a few bags of Geechie Boy Mill white grits. SJ, a guy who knows what’s good, gifts his parents with this splendid product. Geechie calls its product “Stone Ground Goodness.” Accurate. These grits ascend to heaven when topped by BSK’s perfect poached eggs.
HG had early (seven AM) left eye cataract surgery this morning. Quite painless. However, the anesthesia, IV, drops (and the early hour) left HG tired and blurry eyed. BSK drove the unhappy fellow home and comforted him with a lush platter of softly scrambled eggs and cheese grits. Plus, a pot of tea brewed in the English manner. Ah, life has few better rewards than being coddled (and cuddled) by a lovely woman. Lucky, lucky HG.
Chilly Sunday morning here in The Land of Enchantment. The big, fat Sunday New York Times is on the table. Mozart is on the Bose. Time for a true comfort breakfast. For HG, that means grits. Must be the memory of grits and gravy served to little HG by a motherly African-American woman when the five-year-old spent a year in Athens, Georgia. Today, HG used Quaker Instant Grits (grit purists, don’t sneer, they are pretty good). Made them like polenta. Added a thin stream of grits to boiling water and stirred, stirred, stirred for about five minutes. When the grits were just about done, HG added plenty of butter, grated cheddar, sea salt and ground pepper. This was topped by two of BSK’s perfect poached eggs. Did I die? Is it all over? Am I in Heaven?
HG spent some early formative years in the Deep South and has never lost his taste for comforting, spicy, nutritionally incorrect southern cooking. The foundation for many great dishes is stone ground grits. You can cook grits in milk or stock (depending on whether you’re using them for breakfast or dinner). You can stir in cheese or gently sauteed garlic. An unbeatable comfort breakfast is grits topped with poached eggs and bacon.
HG first tasted shrimp and grits (with Tasso ham) at the late Soul Kitchen in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The shrimp had been cooked in a dark, spicy New Orleans roux and then poured over buttery, creamy grits. Yowzah, Yowzah, boys and girls, mighty fine eating. Hit Google for a load of shrimp and grits recipes and choose one heavy on spice. HG also likes fried catfish with grits (for an HG recipe Click Here) Add some collard greens (or garlicky sauteed spinach) to your plate. Dot the grits and spinach with a bit of butter. Pass the Tabasco or Frank’s Hot Sauce. Let the good times roll.