Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Shoot-Out – My town – foods

Although Charleston, South Carolina, is a restaurateur’s paradise, I have no photos of them to share. Despite the image of a bon vivant that I present by posting exciting photographs from decades ago when I actually had a life, I hardly ever eat out. At the end of this blog, however, I will post a photograph or two of my refrigerator and pantry which are the best this town has to offer! Come on down!.

But first, in the spirit of the hometown foods theme, I would be remiss if I did not post a dissertation on GRITS.

As everyone who has received a tourist T-Shirt from the South knows, GRITS stands for “Girls Raised In the South.” Bagman is hoping that Reggie Girl, who surely must own at least one of these T-shirts, will provide photographic evidence.

However, the “Girls Raised in the South” acronym was a new learning experience for me, coming from Massachusetts where I always thought that GRITS stood for “Glucose Rich Icky Tasting Stuff”.

The common belief in the North is that grits are made by puréeing hash browns and then removing the taste. Grits are actually made from Spanish moss which is another Southern mystery. Despite numerous research grants, nobody has yet been able to discover whether Spanish moss is animal, vegetable, or mineral. Or how it gets into trees. But grits are made from Spanish moss which puréed before having the taste removed.

But I am not really as negative about grits as I sound. When I first proposed to a “girl raised in the south” and was being traditionally paraded before her mother and the esteemed tribunal of aunts, they all insisted on feeding me grits. It is a kind of ritual or test which Northerners must pass before being allowed to marry into the family.

Determined not merely to survive but to thrive, I soon taught myself to make grits on my own. I’m proud to say that my personal secret recipe has gained me, after 22 years the reputation for being the family’s premier grits gourmet. Either that or they are just happy to have someone else get up and make breakfast for a change.

But today, I will, for the first, time reveal my secret grits recipe:

Mix one cup of grits and three cups of water and a tablespoon of milk in a bowl. Microwave it on high for eight minutes. Add three sticks of butter and a pound of American cheese. Place it back in the microwave for three more minutes. Check for consistency. If it is too thick, add milk. If it is two thin, add more butter and cheese. Note: If you want to cut down on cooking time, the cup of grits is optional.

As you may have noticed from the photograph, I tend to favor grits made by Quaker. If you are not from the South, you probably know that Quaker also makes oatmeal. These two products have led to Quaker’s famous advertising slogan: “We make food with no taste for people with no teeth.”

But since this is a photo shootout instead of a scholarly dissertation, I’ll finish up with pictures of

where I usually obtain the best food in Charleston:

Here is my refrigerator -- open and closed.

And one of the world renown pantries of Charleston...actually Mt. Pleasant.

And finally there are strawberries. This coming weekend is the annual Mt. Pleasant Boone Hall Plantation Strawberry festival (next door to my Subdivision) which would have produced more pictures if this shoot-out were next week instead of this week. Although I will not actually be going to it now since Brian and Melody are having a yard sale on Saturday and will require muscle, which we all know Bagman and Butler have in copious amounts even though I myself am the one who has to take aspirin afterwards.

Also this weekend about 20 miles away is the Low Country Grits Festival which I will also be unable to attend but next year plan to make it. The big event is the Grits Diving contest in which kids leap into a huge vat of grits (with insufficient butter and cheese, I'm sure) and the winner is the person who can climb out with the most gook sticking to their body based on being weighed before and after the dive. Stay tuned for photos next year.


  1. I always thought grits were like a bowl of really really small rocks. And that Southeners were really tough people with no teeth due to this.

    Fascinating BB.

    I have now been 'cracked up' for the day :)

    That is Australian for 'made to laugh', not another version of chewy rocks! As in "you crack me up BB" not "you made my teeth fall out" I'm cracking myself up...

    oh dear


  2. You are too funny. No thanks I'll pass the grits. My dad was southern, and I think he liked them, although I don't recall ever having them in our house, so maybe not. He married my mom who was a Yank.

  3. Who needs pictures when you paint so well with words?

  4. I knew grits were made from somthing funky and weird so thanks for clearing that up for me. No wonder I don't like those things.....ewwwww those things are full of grossness.
    This is a hilarious post and thanks for the early morning laugh. That strawberry festival sounds interesting. I want one of those great big ones on the back of that truck. Can't go wrong with fruit right?
    And what's this I read about Bagman riding around in the car with GingerV?? Then, Michelle says she's hot for him too????
    Sounds like a cat-fight brewing to me B&B......may the best woman win because I'm ready to fight for my Bagman.......
    Call me.......seriously dude........

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  5. I can still remember sitting on the kitchen floor with the bowl of grits with brown sugar and butter on top - in front of me and not being allowed to go play until they were gone - cause we don't waste food - I spent the day on the floor - showed her!
    do you know you can tell a lot about a person (or at least his wife) by what is in the pantry, how organized it is etc... have a great weekend. ** wish I were there for the spring strawberrys - love to make strawberry preserves and then eat on fresh hot biscuit.

  6. B&B where is your sports car - the photo is gone????

  7. SHAME, SHAME ON YOU!!! Trying to sell our grits short of the most delicious things on earth!!!!!! And them coming from Spanish Moss!! Shame on you. You can tell your aren't a true southerner just a transplanted one :)

    And poor Ginger having to eat brown sugar on hers. I'd have died and sat right there all day too!

    This was a really cute post and I'm with you on the fav of Quacker!
    Blessings on your weekend, sorry about missing the strawberries and the grits fun.

  8. I had no idea what grits were! I have heard many, many jokes about grits - not sure what I assumed them to be. But I must say, the Lifetime Weight Watcher member in me nearly had a seizure at the amount of butter and cheese in them! Think I will pass!

  9. I wanna be a southern girl!!!! Can I be a transplanted one, y'all?

  10. Not really convinced... very diverging comments! But, I'm ready to have a try!

  11. Thank god for the internet, or I'd never really know what grits were made of, or even that it was an acronym! And I think the marketing genius' at Quaker could take a cue from you, after all how many people have to go on bland or liquid diets, or for some of us, both?

  12. First, the car: GingerV: Bagman and Dorothea took it to Boston.

    Grits: No self respecting Northerner would eat grits. And besides, grits are not made from moss. They are made by tiny elves using a mixture of dried up cow dung and spent nut shells left behind by squirrels. They extract the smell of the cow dung into a high potent liquid that goes into dark German beer (sorry Pink Bird House, the secret is out), and they sell the grits and liquids to a guy in a dark coat that comes around in a wagon weekly. What happens after that, I don't know.

    Nice fridge album you have there.

    Are those Chernobyl strawberries?

  13. I just want to know one thing!!!!!!!
    Who's been making yall's grits???
    They for sure haven't been doing a very good job!!

  14. I have always heard of grits but never knew what they were... My OH went to Atlanta for a week for work, and the first thing I asked him on his return was, 'So what were the grits like?'

  15. I loved brown sugar my mother was trying to make me eat them camouflaged -
    you'all every eat corn nuts - here they take the inside of the corn (the grit) and soak it (maybe) sugar or salt water - they puff up really big - then I don't know how or what else but they are dry and slightly sweet or salty and are a great snack

  16. And I was thinking all these adventures happened in REAL time.
    Everything is just a conduit for butter & cheese. I firmly agree with this, but my current dieting does not.~Mary

  17. Even though I've, of course, heard about grits on the movies. I was totally unprepared to see they came in a bag like flour ....and you have to truck in strawberries they are so huge. I think you and your lovely wife should come to Australia. Did you look at the Friday one where I showed off my town?

    And does Bagman know what the topic is for next week??? I don't.

  18. Can always count on your blog being true "grit." lol- couldn't resist. Hey, I have to ask...are the sides of the frig covered with photos too? Or am I the only one who feels the need to decorate all sides? Have a super weekend. :o)

  19. Do not put down grits. JEB and his boys will ride to Charleston, steal all your livestock, and violate all your womenfolks.

    Love grits. With a cup of brown sugar, a quart of heavy cream, and three sticks of butter for breakfast. With the butter, some Old Bay, and a pound of shrimp for dinner.

  20. Here in Florida, there are two occassions when we eat grits: 1. For breakfast, with bacon or sausage, eggs and hot biscuits. The eggs and grits are always mixed together.
    2. My favorite time for grits is at our fish fries. Last week I had a visitor for dinner. I told him we were having smoked mullet, hush puppies, and grits, along with the fried fish.
    He didn't know what grits were, but was convinced that they had to be gritty. He thought hush puppies were shoes, and that smoked mullet was leftover hair from a kid's weird haircut. Dinner started off on the wrong foot ....err...shoe. Things did get better when we brought out the apple pie and ice cream.
    Bring Bagman to supper (That's Southern for dinner.) I enjoy your shoot=out garnished with great humor. Gordon

  21. Ooh, glad to know what GRITS means in Reggie Girl's world and yours LOL!

    I love Quaker's Oats - probably the best oatmeal I've tasted, given it's the only brand I've tasted!

  22. I don't think we have grits in Canada, but we do have bannock bread, however, and it's probably about as palatable. It's basically bread made in a frying pan.

    I do love Quaker oatmeal, though, with tons and tons of brown sugar and cream.

    Hmmmmm... I think I'll go have a snack.

  23. Um, kiss my grits? Short quiz: Who famously said that?

    Man, they grow strawberries HUGE up where you are. We just had a strawberry festival in Poteet, Texas, the first of April. If I'd remembered it, I'd have gone. Thanks for reminding me so late, dude.

  24. Kiss my grits! That girl in Mel's Diner said that, didn't she?

  25. I enjoyed your dissertation on grits - taste removed.

  26. I'm going to have to try grits sometime. For a Canadian it's totally foreign food. Do you need true grit to eat it, or do you not need to eat grits if you already have true grit?

    Oh, and please thank Butler for the nice note he left me!

  27. Strawberries!? We won't have local strawberries here in southwestern Ontario for more than a month yet. Maybe the ones in our produce sections now are from your neck of the woods.