I hate breakfast. Actually, I like breakfast food – I just don’t like eating in the morning. I generally have a cup of coffee and nothing else in the first two hours of waking. Only then does my appetite come to life. This is obviously not an ideal state of affairs because everyone says you do better over the course of the day if you eat breakfast. Hence grits, a subject that has always fascinated me because I never had them growing up (in the North). An article by John Thorne in his latest book, Mouth Wide Open, persuaded me to give it a try.

I ordered 4 bags of artisanal, stone-milled white grits from Anson Mills in South Carolina, and a cheap slow-cooker from Rival. Real grits require soaking and then an hour of cooking, which obviously is not going to work in the morning, and Thorne discovered that you can put them in the slow cooker overnight and they will be ready the next day. A half cup of grits takes 2 1/4 cups of water, a teaspoon of kosher salt and a tablespoon of butter.

This morning they turned out to be ready, with a nice crust that could be scraped off and stirred back in. I grated some fresh Reggiano in and now I’ve eaten them. They were good, subtly corn-flavored, a bit salty. Though it still feels weird to have eaten this early. I’ll report back and how it affected my day (if at all).

10 thoughts on “Grits”

  1. if your day was not affected, may i suggest you pair with a chateauneuf pape blanc next time.

  2. Patrick
    I suggest bringing the crock pot to work and cooking them here. We could have them at the Marketing meeting then.

  3. For years I wondered what grits was. Now I know it’s just fancy foreign porridge what takes ages to cook, and is equally exciting as porridge.

  4. As a southerner and semi-expert on grits as a diet staple, I have to say your grits look funny and r0ng. Chiefly, they’re far too soupy/liquidy. A dryer grit is a more delicious grit.

  5. They may look soupy in the photos, but they’re not – they’re quite thick. Do you do artisanal grits? Thorne writes: “Unlike mass-produced grits, those from old-fashioned, small-scale Southern grist mills have not been stripped of the heart, or germ, of the corn, the part that’s high in iron, niacin and riboflavin. You can see for yourself that it’s there — little dark speckles are the tip-off. These buff-colored grits have a rougher texture than fine-milled commercial grits; the flavor is straightforward, authentic and, and full. When you’re eating them, you can really taste the corn, something that rarely comes through when you eat steel-ground grits. Cooked up, these artisanal grits will be homier-looiking and -tasting and considerably thicker than commercial grits.” That’s my experience too.

  6. Generally I go for the mass-produced variety, because they’re just simply easier to make in a hurry. I’ve had artisanal grits on a few occasions, though, and they’re just straight up divine.

    I’ll take your word on it about the photo, though. I’ve always prepared grits to have no visible water, to have something of a consistency like oatmeal or mashed potatoes where they will stand up in a spoon just the same way you scoop them out of a dish. Soft, but firm.

  7. Yeah, I think the soupy look in the first photo is an artifact of Thorne’s admittedly unorthodox use of the overnight slow-cooker method for dealing with artisanal grits. When you take off the lid in the morning there are really stiff hunks of grits stuck to the bottom and sides of the pot, and liquid in the center. You scrape off the hunks and stir them into the liquid before serving. The result is definitely thick enough to stand a spoon upright in it.

    What, if anything, do you add to your grits?

  8. Oh, I just go simple. Butter, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. My brother puts honey on his and says it’s good, but I don’t really like honey.

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