GRITS. Girls Raised In The South. Got the t-shirt and loved wearing it to Boston where I traveled regularly for work. This is what comes to mind when I see grits as in any grocery store or at the farmers market.
There are different grits meals these days. I just happen to have been part of a winning Shrimp and Grits cooking team and will share a few of the secret ingredients that really set off the dinner meal of shrimp and grits.
The more traditional meal for grits is for breakfast. You know you’re in the south when a line forms upon presentation of a crock pot of grits. Complete with all possible mix-ins. Sausage, bacon, honey, milk, butter, sugar, cheese, salt and pepper. This would be the breakfast setup for grits. I recall living in Illinois and we had grits added to the breakfast menu. Many people had not even heard of grits. It became fondly called soul food, since we were from the south and obviously, Girls Raised In The South, on grits.
The secret to awesome breakfast grits is adding vegetable broth to the water when boiling the water to put in the grits. Other forms of broth change the flavor to meats.
For the dinner grits, coarsely ground grits are more textured verses the smooth finely ground grits for breakfast. We started with duck fat for seasoning the grits, we also used smoked gouda for the cheese. We cajunned the shrimp in a wok. The last little twist was adding ground coffee just a teaspoon to the shrimp as they are sauteeing.
Grits go way back and are referenced in the Bible in Leviticus as the people were being instructed for their offerings by the high priest.
So in this way grits really are soul food.