“I’m always sketchy of people who don’t like grits.” – Jaycee Ford
Ain’t that the truth.
In the south, grits are a staple.
They are love. They are life.
They are tradition. They are sacred. They are holy.
If you dont know what ‘grits’ are (or is?), grits are a thick substance made from coarsely ground corn kernels that are boiled. You pop some butter and salt on it and it makes a delicious breakfast food. I dip my bacon in grits, and biscuits; but mostly grits are eaten by themselves.
I cant explain the taste really. They stand alone. Grits, when done right, are very tasty, buttery, creamy, etc…
Grits are everything.
According to Emily Wallace with ‘Our State’ magazine, ” I have never turned down grits. I can’t. Grits are like family — a touchstone of place and identity.”
But recently, I had a very bad grits experience that I must share.
A few weeks ago, my Sunday School class went on a morning trip to a place called Shatley Springs in the mountains. Its a popular redneck eating place with homemade everything, and a duck-crap-infested pond in the back. It is adorned with rocking chairs on the porch and knick-knack shops nearby. It also has an outdoor stage area where anyone can grab the mic & serenade you, including the ducks.
Shatley Springs is a local legend.
16 friends, myself and my husband included, hopped on the small church bus at 7 am Saturday morning and headed into the wilderness. Once we got there, we were all hungry, and because we’re Baptists, we ran out of that bus like we hadn’t eaten in a month. We piled onto the front porch and waited to be granted entry.
Once we were in, crap got real.
The waitress started bringing out plates of bacon, sausage, country ham, gravy, biscuits, scrambled eggs, pancakes, apple butter, jelly, and then… the ultimate prize… the bowl of grits. We took turns passing the food around the table as we each began gathering our spoils. Of course, I got a huge amount of grits on my plate. Nearly took up half. Lol
The moment I put the spoon of grits into my mouth,
I knew INSTANTLY something had gone terribly awry.
The taste instantly took me back in time 400 years. I was a puritan, trapped beneath the deck of the Mayflower, struggling to hold back my vomit… Eating hardtack & gruel to survive… People around me dying of dysentery and fevers…
I had my newborn daughter in my arms. We had been at sea 2 months now, and still no land in sight… My dear friend Agnes had collapsed due to having the fever yesterday. Pray tell, where is she? I wonder if she was yet alive, or if her body had been committed to the sea in the night… That fever will take you to the Lord says I. My husbandman Thomas is very wise, being the head of the house, and he told me to keep a pickled beet root in the side of my cheek to help with the nausea. In truth, I be the weaker vessel…
I snapped back to 2019 and said aloud,
“WHAT THE CRAP IS THIS PILGRIM MESS?!”
Others at the table looked at me and then took a bite of their grits to see what was going on.
These grits were NOT ‘my’ grits. They were trash. They savored STRONGLY of sawdust. I’m really not exaggerating. They tasted just like wet sawdust.
I saw someone across from me at a different table shudder. LITERALLY.
“Aw no man, these grits suck” I heard someone say.
A man at my table asked the waitress to take this crap away and bring us some that are actually cooked. LOL The waitress brought another bowl in about 15 minutes later, and they were no better. Literally horrendous. This wasn’t the grits we all knew and loved. This… THIS was an imposter. We were all flabberghasted at how awful they were. Lol
Half my plate was already full of grits. I had to journey forward. Every bite was like eating sandpaper grit, and swallowing it left your throat DRYER than it was before. They were awful.
Someone else said that their teeth had never been cleaner in their life. LOL (due to the grits scratching their teeth and mouth so hard)
They were so bad ya’ll.
I CANT EVEN OMG THEY WERE SO AWFUL
After we left Shatley Springs, we went to a local waterfall and saw some people doing spiritual dances, etc… and I rudely laughed at their strange space music before I realized what they were doing. Oops lol
The next morning, in Sunday School, one of our teacher’s received a packet of instant grits as a joke.