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Grits is a porridge made from boiled cornmeal. Hominy grits are a type of grits made from hominy – corn that has been treated with an alkali in a process called nixtamalization with the pericarp removed. Grits are often served with other flavorings as a breakfast dish. Grits can be either savory or sweet, with savory seasonings being more common. The dish originated in the Southern United States but now is available nationwide. Grits are popular as the dinner entrée shrimp and grits, served primarily in the South. Grits should not be confused with boiled ground corn, hasty pudding, mush, or polenta as these have differing ingredients and preparation.[original research?]
|Place of origin||United States|
|Main ingredients||Ground corn|
|Variations||Hominy grits |
Yellow speckled grits
Grits are of Native American origin and are similar to other thick maize-based porridges from around the world, such as polenta and mieliepap. In the Charleston, South Carolina area cooked grits are called hominy and uncooked grits are called grist. The word "grits" is derived from the Old English word grytt, meaning "coarse meal".
The dish came from a Native American Muskogee tribe's recipe in the 16th century, of Indian corn similar to hominy or maize. The Muskogee would grind the corn in a stone mill, giving it a “gritty” texture. They were made using a stone-grounder. The colonists and settlers enjoyed the new staple with the local Native Americans and it became an American staple dish.
At that time, the hominy for grits were ground on a stone mill. The ground hominy was then passed through screens, the finer sifted material used as grit meal, and the coarser as grits. State law in South Carolina requires grits and rice meal to be enriched, similar to the requirement for flour.
Three-quarters of grits sold in the U.S. are bought in the South, in an area stretching from Lower Texas to Washington D.C. that is sometimes called the "grits belt". The state of Georgia declared grits to be its official prepared food in 2002. A similar bill was introduced in South Carolina to name it the official state food, but it did not advance. Nevertheless, South Carolina still has an entire chapter of legislation dealing exclusively with corn meal and grits. Grits may be either yellow or white, depending on the color of the corn used. The most common version in supermarkets is "quick" grits, which have the germ and hull removed. Whole kernel grits is sometimes called "speckled".
Grits are prepared by adding four parts boiling water or milk (seasoned with 1⁄4 tsp of salt for each cup of liquid) to one part cornmeal. Cover and cook for 20 to 45 minutes over medium-low, stirring regularly. Grits expand when cooked and need stirring to prevent sticking, and lumps from forming. They are not done until they have absorbed four and one-quarter times their volume. Whole grain grits require much longer to become soft than "quick grits". Some people serve grits with sugar, while others object to sweetened grits. They are often served with butter. They are served with grated cheese, sausage, bacon, salt and pepper, or red-eye gravy. Extra, i.e., left-over, grits can be put into a glass tumbler or loaf pan, chilled until needed, sliced, and fried either plain or with a breading. In this form they are denominated "fried grits", "fried hominy", or "grit cakes".
Shrimp and grits is a traditional dish in the coastal communities in the South Carolina Lowcountry and Georgia's Lower Coastal Plain. A variation of the dish is also consumed for breakfast in the northern states of Kedah and Perlis in peninsular Malaysia. It is a traditional breakfast dish.
In popular cultureEdit
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- Grits are a plot point in the 1992 comedy/legal drama film My Cousin Vinny, used by Vinny Gambino to prove a hole in a witness's testimony in court.
- "Kiss my grits!" was a popular catchphrase in the 1970s uttered frequently by the character Flo on the sitcom Alice.
- Grits is a song recorded by RZA, in which he refers to eating it for dinner.
- Grits are used as a punishment for a teenage girl in the 2003 book (and 2008 film) The Secret Life of Bees.
- A Mr. Tibbs inspired character named Mr. Grits (voiced by Craig Robinson) is featured in the film Sausage Party.
- Kid Rock's debut studio album Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast debuted in 1990.
- The song "I'm in Great Shape" from the unreleased Beach Boys album SMiLE, later released as a Brian Wilson solo album, contains a reference to eating eggs and grits for breakfast.
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- Moss, Robert. "The Surprisingly Recent Story of How Shrimp and Grits Won Over the South". Serious Eats. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
- Huguenin, Mary Vereen and Stoney, Anne Montague, eds. Charleston Receipts. The Junior League of Charleston:1950. P. 153
- Harper, Douglas. "grits". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
- Marcus, Erica (May 3, 2006). "Newsday, Melville, N.Y., Burning Questions column: Kernels of Truth on Ground Corn". Knight Ridder Tribune Business News. Washington. p. 1 – via ProQuest.
- "Code of Laws. Title 39. Trade and Commerce. Chapter 29. "Corn Meal and Grits"". scstatehouse.gov. South Carolina Legislature. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
- Cutler, Charles L. (2002). Tracks that Speak: The Legacy of Native American Words in North American Culture. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 28. ISBN 0-618-06510-5.
- Georgia Secretary of State, State Prepared Food. Retrieved December 14, 2007.
- South Carolina General Assembly 113th Session, 1999–2000, Bill Number: 4806. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
- "A Bill to Amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, By Adding Section 1-1-703 So As To Recognize Grits As the Official Food of the State. Session 113 - (1999-2000). 4806 General Bill, By Altman". scstatehouse.gov. South Carolina Legislature. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
- Lee, Matt; Lee, Ted (April 26, 2000). "A Taste of Charleston; Corn's Highest Calling: Grits". The New York Times. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- "How to Make Grits". Better Homes & Gardens. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- "Repeat After Me: Grits and Polenta Are Not the Same Thing". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- "9 Mistakes You Might Be Making With Grits". HuffPost. September 26, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- "How To Cook Grits Like A Southerner". HuffPost. October 29, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- "The Surprisingly Recent Story of How Shrimp and Grits Won Over the South". www.seriouseats.com. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
- "Southern Fried Grit Patties". Just A Pinch Recipes. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
- "An Excerpt From The Secret Life of Bees". www.penguin.com. Retrieved November 21, 2020.