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Your Old Dog
12-19-2008, 08:53 AM
About 50 years ago my Dad took the family to stay with some folks in Cleveland Ohio. They were transplants from Alabama, in fact, that's what my dad called the guy...Alabama.

The guys wife made me some grits and here I am talking about them over 50 years later. To say they were really tasty would be an understatement!


I have tried for 10 years to make them. I use Quaker Old Fashioned grits, just shy of two cups of water and a half cup of grits for a single serving. I salt the water and when it's boiling I put the grits in and stir till they thicken and always use a lid to keep the stuff off the stove. When done and still in the pan, I add about a tablespoon of butter to them and stir it in while I'm making my eggs. What the hell am I doing wrong? Anybody here able to tell me the proper way to make them or what missing ingriedant I need? I don't cook by the "artistic" method, I'm more a scientifically type of cook as I am greedy and always want my food to taste good and not so much hit and miss :D

Any help from a pure throughbred Redneck will be appreciated.

I am asking here because I know besides Canucks, the forum is lousy with RedNecks :D

lynnl
12-19-2008, 09:21 AM
Well I'll ignore the term redneck(s). Never have liked that ...it implies there's something less savory about people that work outdoors, than those whitenecks that do office work.

...but back to the issue of the grits. You didn't say what's wrong with your grits. I don't often make grits, but when I do I just use the microwave recipe as it appears on the back of the box (Quaker). One key is to not just dump the grits into the water, but just gradually sprinkle them in, so as to permit them to become wetted rather than clumping up. (same for oatmeal)

I find that I do have to sometimes add a little extra water if they're becoming too dry, or microwave them a little longer if too watery.

I dunno, problem cooking grits is somewhat akin to the old cliche "can't boil water". :D

For stovetop cooking, I would not cook them covered. I'd just turn down the heat to a low simmer to avoid splatter.

Try those ideas and report back.

HSS
12-19-2008, 09:22 AM
Now thats a tough one. Different areas do it differently. I've had bad grits and I've had good grits, the bad more than the good. When you find good grits you tend to frequent that place regularly. Sounds like you cook yours the way the box says, but are they instant grits? If so, that may be the problem. 50 years ago, the grits weren't instant. Good grits take at least 20 minutes to cook and I'll bet her grits took at least that long. May be a small thing but sometimes instant isn't better. IMHO

Pat

Sorry, just reread your post and didn't notice "quaker old fashioned"

Your Old Dog
12-19-2008, 09:35 AM
Lynnl, sorry. The term RedNecks at least from me is meant as a term of endearment. Used here I don't mean it as a negative term but somehow using Southern Gentlemen seems more of a rub on this board ! JUST KIDDING! Hope the Canadians don't take offense to Canucks. My daughter is now married to a Canuck and living in Canuckland.

I use the Old Fashioned kind and it does take about 20 minutes to make them. The problem is with mine that they are kind of flat tasting and a bit gluey. The grits that I remember were quite dry and just barely stayed together on your fork. Do they ever put anything in the water before making the grits. As an example Spanish Rice is more often then not made with chicken broth instead of water to add some deep seated flavor to the dish.

I'm starting to wonder if a "little" bacon grease or something else could be added at some point along the process?

Dawai
12-19-2008, 10:10 AM
Grits n Hominy.. one is ground, other left alone.. Lye, ash.. alkaline used to make it.. It swells it up.

On the old moonshine stills.. you swell the corn up with LYE.. it pops the shell on the corn opening up the "meat" inside to fermentation..

Once you swell it up, to ferment it you must swing the ph back.. opposite of LYE is acid.. the real goobers used sulphuric acid from car batteries.. the better moonshiners used apple cider vinegar.. it also imparted another taste to the brew..

Once the corn was swelled, fermented out, cooked off the alcohol was "gone" but they were left with a dead mash? What to do with it? feed it to the hogs and chillen..

I have a corn-allergy.. Diverticulitus also?? it makes me bleed internally. I ate grits for 48-49 years and it never bothered me.. instead of thinking "MY" body had changed I looked to see if corn has changed.. (can't be me?)
A lovely bag of Frito lays chips is also fermented ground up corn baked into chips.. I worked there in a frito lay plant for a bit.. kept smelling the ferment pot from the old moonshine stills.. yep.. they do it almost the same way in the beginning..

Somedays I say, bring on the end of the world.. I am not sure I like these changes.. It's a whole new world out there for sure..

lazlo
12-19-2008, 10:45 AM
I use the Old Fashioned kind and it does take about 20 minutes to make them. The problem is with mine that they are kind of flat tasting and a bit gluey.

I learned how to cook (and enjoy) grits when I was teaching at Mississippi State :)

You need to bring the water to a boil, dump the grits in, and simmer them from 30 - 40 minutes. When they're properly cooked, they should have distinct corn granules. You're overcooking them if they're getting gluey.

In Mississippi they serve grits in a mound with a pad of butter on top -- they don't stir it in like you describe, but I'm sure that's regional.

Dawai
12-19-2008, 11:05 AM
Lynn.

Most the people overseas and up NORTH think all us southern people are like the ones the the beverly hillbillies. We eat possum, and swamp critters.. and.. sit around molesting our cousins for the fun of it.

I'd rather be a Gawgia redneck than a yankee business man with a Cuban necktie.. Now most "Ya'll" ain't got a clue what that is.

Hell, I married a DAMN yankee.. one who came down heah and stayed.. I almost have taught her to make cornbread.. now she leaves the sugar out..

lynnl
12-19-2008, 11:28 AM
Huh? David, do you mean they don't eat possum up north? Well I'll be darned! :D

Yeah YOD, I knew you weren't meaning any insult. And I hope I didn't come across as all snarly and huffy. That wasn't my intent. Furthermore I realize the world isn't going to change just because I don't think some term is appropriate.

Lazlo that's exactly how I would've said DON'T do it. Generally you need to add stuff like that (e.g. flour) to cold water, before applying heat. I'd have thought you'd just get a clumpy glob doing it that way. But if it works, it works!

Actually I just use the "quick" grits when I do it. Mine turn out about as good as any others I've ever had. Like I said I'm not a real grits connoissuer anyway. Eat oatmeal, it's better for you anyway.

Every time I think of grits, I now think of that movie "My Cousin Vinny"... one of my favorite movies.

I also think of a cartoon I saw back when Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondell were running for president/VP: Jimmy C. and Walter were sitting at the breakfast table, and Jimmy's telling Rosalyn, "Walter's not very hungry this morning, he said he'll only want one grit for breakfast".

MickeyD
12-19-2008, 12:09 PM
There is a little redneck in me but I don't eat possum (tried to a couple of times but that is another story). Now, a coon cleaned out on corn for a couple of weeks and cooked whole like a small pig is pretty good - and that is from people who had no idea that they were eating coon. Some buddies and I used to have a wildlife/exotic cookoff every year and coon always ranked high when it was done right. Emu and ostrich were like eating snow goose that was a tough as a tire.

rmack898
12-19-2008, 12:33 PM
Huh? Every time I think of grits, I now think of that movie "My Cousin Vinny"...

"No self-respecting Southerner uses instant grits."

Biscuits, sausage gravy, and grits.....Doesn't get much better than that.

Dawai
12-19-2008, 12:56 PM
My daddy.. (deceased) went on a possum eating (talking about it) rampage for about two weeks..

Carrol my wife made him this cake.. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v85/ibewgypsie/Dscn1272.jpg

He had so much fun calling all the relatives telling them he had a possum on a plate..
It was a eggnog cake.. he refused to cut it for days having so much fun with it..

Yeah, that is coconut on it for frosting/hair.. and redhots for eyes.. and lil ears cut from the missing part of the bunt cake pan..

I sure miss the old codger..

(His recipe for possum.. nail it to a shingle.. pour wine over it as you bake it.. when done, remove from oven, eat the shingle and throw the possum away)

saltmine
12-19-2008, 01:00 PM
Is it true that a possum, startled in a car's headlights will jump straight up?

A friend recently told me he got his windshield broken...hitting a possum on a dark country road....Windshield?? They must jump pretty high.

TGTool
12-19-2008, 01:07 PM
Is it true that a possum, startled in a car's headlights will jump straight up?

A friend recently told me he got his windshield broken...hitting a possum on a dark country road....Windshield?? They must jump pretty high.

Naw, that's the armadillo.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To show the armadillo that it could be done.

Mcruff
12-19-2008, 02:21 PM
Being a Redneck is a state of mind and has nothing to do with location. I work with 2 germans that are bigger rednecks than any of my family members or friends and I know several rednecks from upstate New York. And contrary to popular believe yankees eat grts and have for as many years as any southerner, my family is mainly from Indiana and I don't know a single one of them that hasn't eaten grits for breafast for the last 75 years.

wierdscience
12-19-2008, 02:55 PM
Grits,rice,oatmeal all cooks the same here.Water nothing else in the pot,bring it to a rolling boil,add grits,rice,oatmeal etc bring it back to a boil for five minutes.Cover,remove from heat and let hot water work it's magic for about 20 minutes.Add your butter,cheese,gravy fixins etc and reheat to liking.

Don't put butter in any starch item until starch is cooked(absorbed water).The butter fat will block the absorption and leave grits gritty,rice crunchy and oatmeal inedible.

If you really do it up right,breakfast will consist of eggs,sausage,grits and buttermilk biscuits.The some of the sausage drippings go in the grits and the biscuits are topped off with homemade cane syrup.

Eating that breakfast requires cuttin and haulin no less than three cords of pulpwood to burn it off before lunch:D

John Garner
12-19-2008, 03:57 PM
A former associate of mine, an elderly good old boy originally from WAAY up in the hills, was always complaining because the locally-available grits -- Alber's and sometimes Quaker -- just didn't compare to genuine stone-ground grits from a southern miller. Since I was making fairly frequent business trips to Florida, I started bringing him five-pound sacks of Martha White (??) grits from a Winn-Dixie, which pleased him greatly.

A few days before he retired, I was coming back from another Florida trip and figured I'd bring him a couple of the five-pound sacks of grits as a send-off present.

Delta managed to drop my suitcase hard enough to bust open one of the heavy-paper grit sacks before shaking it hard enough to distribute the grits throughout everything inside the suitcase. It took months to get all the grits out of my clothes.

When it comes to the grits themselves, I like Alber's.

John

Yankee1
12-19-2008, 04:50 PM
YOD
The wife says your using too much water. She says about two cups to one cup of grits. She sometimes pours them into a pan and puts them into the refrigerator overnight and the next morning cuts them into pieces about
1" x 3" then Fry's them to a golden brown and serves them with syrup and butter. She also says not to cover them. just turn the heat down some.
She is from Texas and I just love her grits any way she cooks them.
Chuck

chiphead42
12-19-2008, 06:30 PM
Here is something I put together for my self after I had to start makeing my own breakfast, quick,easy, nurshing,&
tasty. I start with cold water 1 1/2 cup, add more as needed. Add 2 Tbs Hominey Grits, 2 Tbs quick cooking oats, 1tsp onuion flakes, 1tsp roasted pepper flakes, 1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon, sausage, or diced ham, 1/4 cup grated cheddar or other cheese. bring to boil & simmer 10-15 min.salt & black pepper to taste. Enjoy. All ingrediants adjustable to your taste. chiphead42

Boucher
12-19-2008, 07:14 PM
Chiphead42 that sounds delicous. Here in central TX hash brown potatoes tend to out rank grits in popularity. I have allways liked hominey, but never really cared for grits until one of the little old ladys brought some cheesy grits to a bring a dish dinner. You are obliged to try a spoonfull of everything Aren't you? The cheesy grits were outstanding. Yours sound even better!

ulav8r
12-19-2008, 07:33 PM
I like em cheesy or with just a little sugar. 1 teaspoon is plenty in a serving of grits. Also a dash of salt to bring out the flavor.

alanganes
12-19-2008, 08:39 PM
I don't exactly know why, but there is something really satisfying about watching this group of crusty characters swap recipes...*







*Not poking fun, I love to cook!

Forrest Addy
12-19-2008, 09:19 PM
Hmm. Grits. I used to room with a southerner. When his sister and her family came up to visit she made grits and I'm quite sure she use a little lard in the process. I do like grits now that I think about it.

My northerner family used to breakfast on Cream of Wheat (which is kinda like grist) about one day a week. A pat of butter sure made it tastier.

Your Old Dog
12-19-2008, 10:18 PM
Thanks a million guys. Think next next week I'll waste a big box of grits and nail it all down. Got a lot of interesting ideas to play with and I'm sure my grits will start working for me now!

I'm going to start by cutting back on the water to see if I can remove the glue look to them then I'm going to work on flavoring them with bacon grease and maybe onion/scallions. Cheese works great on my homefries, I got that zeroed in with a little help from my dad. I think my breakfast homefries will stack up against any mans :D It's also a breakfast that will hold you till supper !

Thanks again, you guys are great.

torker
12-19-2008, 10:54 PM
Ok...guys...could someone tell me just what "grits" are?
I'd like to try them.
I used to hear about biscuits and gravy....ho hum...til I went down south to spend some time with a horse trainer that I wanted to learn some new skills from.
His wife made breakfast the first day there.
Said it was "biscuits an gravy" (ho hum)
Holy Smoke..I was wrong!
By far the best breakfast I've ever had.
I like your US food.
So...what are these grits?

lynnl
12-19-2008, 11:27 PM
Grits are/is ground up corn. Noticeably coarser than cornmeal.
As David Cofer said, it's essentially dried hominy that's been ground up.
Cooked and served it's similar to cream of wheat, except again coarser, and with a corn taste rather than wheat.

It's usually served as a side dish at breakfast. ...an alternative to hash brown potatoes. When I was stationed on Guam an alternative usually served with breakfast there was re-fried rice (or maybe it was just called fried rice). That fried rice was very lightly browned, with little bits of egg stirred in, and seasonings that I can't name. That too was quite good.

FatWheels
12-19-2008, 11:46 PM
David's post about lye and corn is worth rereading if you wonder what grits are. The hull of a kernel of corn is indigestible to humans, and somewhere in prehistory indigenous peoples discovered soaking them in a wood ash solution fixed everything. The kernels are separated from the indigestible material and gound up. If it's left whole, it's hominy. If it's ground up and made into a paste, it's nixtamil. This dough is made into tamales and tortillas or if you let it dry out instead, you have grits.

I've never had any problem with making grits by just using the instructions on the side of the bag. Please don't buy or use grits in an instant package, it only encourages them to make more. Unless you like eating paste of course, then all bets are off. Also, don't leave out the salt. Two to one is all wrong. The ration is a lot more like four to one -- water to grits. They also thicken just fine with the lid on, and there's less mess from splatters too.

One other thing, don't shy away from eating whatever the po' folks eat, ie 'rednecks'. Poverty cooking frequently becomes the most treasured dishes in a national cuisine. Like pasta, or pirougi, or tortillas, or boxty, or bubble and squeek, and the list goes on.

Cheers,

Jim

or should I say buen provecho

gnm109
12-20-2008, 12:34 AM
Lynn.

Most the people overseas and up NORTH think all us southern people are like the ones the the beverly hillbillies. We eat possum, and swamp critters.. and.. sit around molesting our cousins for the fun of it.

I'd rather be a Gawgia redneck than a yankee business man with a Cuban necktie.. Now most "Ya'll" ain't got a clue what that is.

Hell, I married a DAMN yankee.. one who came down heah and stayed.. I almost have taught her to make cornbread.. now she leaves the sugar out..


Don't real grits need a touh of possum grease....? That's what I heard. I live in a rural area and some of my friends are so-called "rednecks." They are good folks.

dp
12-20-2008, 12:39 AM
Grits is just grits. The best grits ever is still just grits. Now if you want something substantial, here's my recipe web page where I give up deep secrets for essential meals appropriate to a man cave environment. http://hawglydavidson.com/recipes/

JRouche
12-20-2008, 12:51 AM
LOL.. Grits?? I didnt read ALL the posts. Just the first one. I love grits. Savory grits which means they arent sweet, some folks like sweet grits.

For me its a nice pile of semi dry grits, (I dont like soupy grits) with a pat of butter if times are good. JR

oldtiffie
12-20-2008, 05:28 AM
I was intrigued with the use of "Red Neck" and its connotations as well as its history etc., especially after a remark by lynnl.

I decided to look it up in Wikipedia (what else) as I've heard it used often enough without ever setting about finding out about it. I admit that I could - perhaps should - have looked a bit further. But I decided to look up "grits" and "hominy grits" in Wikipedia as well.

Glad I did - it was very good read and I feel much better informed although whether I am any the wiser is at best, problematical.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Neck

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grits

http://www.sciway.net/shop/sc-grits.html

http://www.quakergrits.com/QG_Grits/grits.htm

torker
12-20-2008, 07:21 AM
So I'm wondering if you can even buy this course cornmeal up here.
so..I need to smash up some corn...stir in some wood ashes and some water huh?
I'll have to get the missus to check out if we can get this stuff here. I'd even try the ready mix kind just to see what its like.

Your Old Dog
12-20-2008, 07:32 AM
Thanks Tiff, the line in Wiki perfectly describes how I thought about the term RedNeck! I don't see a lot of "suave" types here on the board but I could be wrong. I suppose when Sir John - Earl of Suds pump water when in full regalia, you know, dangling sword, clean finger nails and sobered up for his audience with the Queen, is about as suave as we got here on this board. :D


Southern comedian Jeff Foxworthy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Foxworthy) defines "redneck" as "a glorious lack of sophistication," stating "that we are all guilty of [it] at one time or another."


So I'm wondering if you can even buy this course cornmeal up here.
so..I need to smash up some corn...stir in some wood ashes and some water huh?
I'll have to get the missus to check out if we can get this stuff here. I'd even try the ready mix kind just to see what its like.

Torker, it's in the cereal section, don't buy more then one box !! And don't throw away the ashes until you've tried the grits, the ashes might taste better. Grits are pretty flat tasting unless you can punch them up with something. Not unlike eating a well made and cured batch of premium sawdust. I'm only in this quest because I once had a dish of them that drove me wild and I'm trying to discover how that dish was made. It was very flavorful. The ones I've been making are more like low grade sawdust but the taste of the fried eggs mask some of the blandness of the grits. Salt helps a lot but not wise to go crazy with that stuff. Butter, lots of it, helps add some flavor. If you are in a hurry, skip the grits and just eat the butter :D

deltaenterprizes
12-20-2008, 10:03 AM
According to The History Channel show called "Hillbillys" the term "redneck" refers to a Sheriff and his group that took on the owner of a coal mine that was taking advantage of the workers. The mine owners "security" had machine guns and pipe bombs and were a very large force. The Sheriff and his group took on the mine owner's forces with revolvers and they all had red bandanas around their necks.
Next time you see it run watch it to get "the rest of the story".

Evan
12-20-2008, 11:25 AM
Lynnl,

From your description the rice dish is a favorite of mine. It's fried basmati rice (the type is important as basmati doesn't clump), eggs cooked separately and then stirred in, coarse chopped tomatos and various optional ingredients such as onions. The spice you can't recall is originally from India and is called garam masala. You can buy it pre mixed but it doesn't keep well. Note that it is not a curry spice.

Garam Masala Ingredients:

2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cardamom seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon, broken up
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon saffron (optional)

Instructions:

Put the cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves in a dry heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the spices, stirring occasionally, until they turn several shades darker and give off a sweet smoky aroma, about 10 minutes. Do not raise the heat to quicken the process, or the spices will brown prematurely, leaving the insides undercooked. Cool completely.

Working in batches if necessary, transfer the mixture to a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Stir in the nutmeg and saffron. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Garam Masala keeps for 3 months.

Yield: Makes about 1/2 cup

torker
12-20-2008, 12:28 PM
YOD..."Just eat the butter"...LOL! Pretty funny! :D

oldtiffie
12-20-2008, 07:42 PM
I thort dat gritz woz wot ya got frum ya grindahz.

FatWheels
12-21-2008, 02:38 AM
I wonder how the 'historian' writing that bit on the history channel will deal with the term "farmer's tan". As Freud said, "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.":D :D Sometimes academic etymologies read like Kipling's Just So Stories. How the elephant got his trunk, or how the coalminer got his black lung.

regards,

Jim