Friday, December 3, 2010

Grits ... and other Southern breakfasts

A small package was sitting on our front steps last evening when I went out to the mail box. It had Chapel Hill, NC, potter Tracey Broome's name on the return address. And it had a certain gravitas to it, a certain weight. Turned out to be a two-pound bag of Old Mill Of Guilford stone ground, unbleached white corn grits. Mmmmmm ... grits.
We were in North Carolina back in early October for the opening of the "Clay and Blogs" show in Southern Pines, and the week or so we spent in that state allowed me to indulge myself with grits at every opportunity. (And the occasional biscuits 'n' gravy.) I was born and raised in New England, which generally abhors grits - in fact, doesn't even understand what they are - but living in Virginia for 11 years gave me an appreciation for the decidedly Southern staple and for the Waffle House chain, where you can get cheese grits and all the waitresses call you "Honey." I love grits and once actually was a card-carrying member of the International Grits Appreciation Society. Sadly, I lost the membership card and the group has gone deep underground. A shame.
But Tracey heard my pleas for good grits when I saw her in Southern Pines and she tracked down the Guilford product. "We used to live near this mill and would get their grits and cornmeal all the time," she wrote in a card with the grits.
Thank you, Tracey.
In the photos: The precious bag of Guilford grits; shrimp 'n' cheese grits at the Causeway Cafe in Wrightsville Beach (the biggest bowl of this particular dish that I've ever seen); country ham, grits and eggs at the fish pier cafe in Kure Beach; biscuits 'n' sausage gravy at the Dixie Grill in Wilmington.


cookingwithgas said...

Yes- we grew up on grits and liver pudding- oh my gosh the best breakfast in the world!
But good grief I love shrimp and grits.
You are again a lucky man and that Tracey she is the best!

Tracey Broome said...

YUM! Grits!! Just a little thanks for the bowl and cups we enjoy every day. and Meredith Liver pudding! I used to work with Jimmy Neese, owner of Neese's sausage who makes that great liver pudding. The name sounds awful though doesn't it!
My favorite is country ham with grits though. Enjoy Hollis! You would love the old mill, very charming old building.

Craig Edwards said...

Hollis: Now I'm hungery!! Sorry to say I've never had grits. The specialty around here is Crapola... cranberry, apple, granola.

Hollis Engley said...

Meredith, you know I picked up a few pounds of liver pudding (Neese's) on the way out of NC that last day. I brought it to friends who are used to scrapple, from the NJ/PA area. Alas, the liver pudding was not appreciated as much as the scrapple is. But Dee and I ate it for breakfast with eggs and quite enjoyed it. I'd buy more.
You have to go visit and eat in NC, Craig. Thanks again, Trace.

cindy shake said...

How in the world did a Pacific Northwest girl like me get GRITS IN HER BLOOD (and Tamales)!! I LOVE GRITS and those incredible photos just made my morning toast and tea seem insignificant! I've never heard of shrimp and grits and now it's on my must-eat list. Holy Cow you've made me hungry!

Hollis Engley said...

Our friend Mike is here today, working on rebuilding our stairs to the upstairs gallery. We introduced him to shrimp and grits, now they make it themselves. I made us cheese grits with oysters for lunch. Them's some fine grits our friend Tracey sent.

John Bauman said...

'Nuther grits fan here. My brother went to school in South Carolina and brought this strange, exotic food back to Indiana with him. I've loved 'em ever since.

For some reason, the word verification sample in order to post this is "reated". Has nothing to do with grits, but it's an entertaining word, nevertheless. Now I'll have to go figure out a way to use it in a sentence.

"He reated him some grits. Mmmm, boy, he did."

Ron said...

Wow, now I'm hungry. I love grits. Those biscuits and gravy look yummy too.