Everything’s Better With Butter
When I was growing up, my Mom liked to hang wallpaper. Not the self-adhesive, easy kind that was wet-and-stick-to-the-wall. No. Her daughter was adamant that she needed a vomit of blue flowers – PAPER blue flowers – spangling her bedroom walls. My Mother loved me so much that she bought that flimsy paper and shellacked strips of it vertical with globs of wallpaper paste.
That wallpaper paste haunted me, with its sticky consistency and glue-like scent. So, the first time someone slapped a plate of steaming Southern grits in front of me, I made an unfortunate association that could not be eradicated.
Grits = wallpaper paste
For close to two decades, I smiled and pretended to be a Good Southern Girl Who Liked Grits. I smothered them with blobs of butter. Doused them with piles of shredded cheese. Poured waterfalls of salt from the shaker. All behavior to make Southern wallpaper paste, AKA grits, palatable, because it was SUPPOSED to be.
At twenty-two, I moved to Charleston and began my Food Awakening. It took me several years to muster up the courage to order Shrimp and Grits, that staple of Lowcountry cuisine known the world over. I closed my eyes and pointed at the menu, thinking the perfect shrimp smothered in tasso gravy would make up for the cloud of pasty white stuff. When I opened my eyes, I’d cleaned my whole plate. To the horror of this fine dining establishment, I watched as my finger ran around the plate and popped without control into my mouth. Over. And over. And over again, leaving not one shred of ground hominy behind.
The secret to making edible grits is milk and more than a knob of butter. No wallpaper paste in sight.
MTM’s True Southern Grits
- 1 cup grits
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 lb Wisconsin butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh gound pepper
Combine all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the desired consistency. I use a cast-iron dutch oven, and set the cover on half-crocked to control the eventual spatters.
This post is part of my Torture Myself By Writing About Food While On the Dukan Diet Series. To eat these posts from the beginning, click here and read forward for some butt-kicking pimento cheese, some delectable pickled shrimp and some beautiful boiled peanuts.