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Grits is a porridge made from boiled cornmeal. Hominy grits is a type of grits made from hominy – corn that has been treated with an alkali in a process called nixtamalization, with the pericarp (ovary wall) removed. Grits is 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 is now available nationwide. Grits is often part of a dinner entrée shrimp and grits, served primarily in the South.
|Place of origin||United States|
|Main ingredients||Ground corn|
|Variations||Hominy grits |
Yellow speckled grits
Grits is similar to other thick maize-based porridges from around the world, such as polenta and mieliepap. In the Charleston, South Carolina area, cooked grits is called "hominy" and uncooked grits is called "grist." The word "grits" is derived from the Old English word grytt, meaning "coarse meal".
The dish originated with the Native American Muscogee tribe using a corn similar to hominy. American colonists learned to make the dish from the Native Americans, and it quickly became an American staple.
Three-quarters of the 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. State law in South Carolina requires grits and rice meal to be enriched, similar to the requirement for flour.
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".
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.
Shrimp and grits is a traditional dish in the coastal communities in the South Carolina Lowcountry and Georgia's Lower Coastal Plain. While shrimp and grits may have come from the South Carolina Lowcountry, particularly the Gullah people, the Shrimp and grits dishes eaten by most people trace a much more recent heritage to the Crooks Corner restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1982.
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