Tag Archives: cheese grits

In Which the Ghost of Christmas Cheer Goes Missing


Good morning Everyone!

Last Friday was the last day of school for 2015 for Kayla.  The day before, her home room decided to plan a breakfast party in celebration thereof.  So far so good, but then my child (or perhaps this time she was Mark’s child!) volunteered to bring cheese grits for the class.

When she announced this to us, neither parent was thrilled.  Mark, because he had to go to Wal-Mart with her to get bags of grit after work and me because I was informed that I would be getting up to help her prepare them.  This announcement was doubly troubling to me since I had sworn off making her grits ages ago, since every batch I made was judged inferior to any batch made by either grandmother.  (See, Grits.)

Mark hates Wal-Mart and only goes there as a last resort, but by the time I got home that night, the two of them had already been and returned – with two five-pound flour bag size packages of grits.  I think he got off light.

When I awoke the next morning, Kayla already had plopped three stock size pots on the stove and filled with them water.  She was standing in the kitchen waiting for them to boil.

Unreasonable woman that I am, I studied the directions on the back of the package, and asked, “Did you measure out the water?”

“No, I don’t have to.”

“But the package says…”

“Well, Grandma Pat never does…”

(At this point I started gritting my teeth.)

The water in pot one started to boil, and Kayla added  about three pounds worth of grits into the pot.

My next question:  “Do you have the cheese ready to stir in?”

Disdainfully:  “Mom, you never stir the cheese in; you just put it on top.”

“It’s better stirred in.”

Aggravated sigh.  “Even Cracker Barrel and Huddle House just put the cheese on the top.”

(At this point I started biting my tongue and walked off into the other room.  With a decided lack of wisdom, I decided to reenter the kitchen.)

Studying the huge batch of grits stirring in pot #1, I suggested that pot 1 was all she would need.

“Mom, I have to prepare for 32 people.”

“Kayla, that’s enough for 32 people.”

“No it’s not.”

(By now, I’m ready to start snarling, so I jump to the true root of the problem.)

“You know, when you’re volunteering to bring something to the party at the last minute, you should volunteer to bring something we can just buy at the store.”

“I was going to bring plates Mom, but when people were saying what food they were going to bring, I kept asking for cheese grits and no one would bring them, so I did.”

The child then emptied another two pounds of grits into pot #2 and began stirring.

“Kayla, you have enough grits.  You don’t need the third batch.”

“Yes I do.”

“No, you have enough.”

“But mom…”

Then a shout came out.  “I don’t care what you say, I am now ORDERING you to not make the third batch.”

“Well, there’s no need to yell at me!”

I again left the room, this time to allow my blood pressure to come down.  After too short a period, I am called back in.

“Mom, did Grandma Pat teach me how to make good grits or what?”

(Note:  I don’t like grits; never have, never will.)

She then announced “You know I’m going to need you to help me carry this stuff in.”

I studied the kitchen counter, where a large assortment of very small Tupperware containers were spread out.  “Honey, you can’t take all my Tupperware containers.”

With a huff:  “Well, I have to take them in SOMETHING!”

After a moment’s thought, I found a very large stew pot that she could pour both batches in.  Now all she had to carry was her backpack, slung over her shoulder and the stew pot, which had handles and a lid.  She informed me I still needed to go in with her (which involves parking the car in the school parking lot and walking into the school) rather than just take her through the car rider line (which means I get to stay in the car while she gets on out.)   A snarling cross-examination established that the only reason I needed to go in was that she was embarrassed to carry in her large pot of grits by herself, which really set me off.

At the end of the appointed time, I managed to get the daughter and the grits to the right place at the right time.  My parting words to her as I walked from the school back out to the parking lot included a reminder to clean the kitchen as soon as she got home that day.

For the record, there still is at least one pot that has not yet been cleaned to my satisfaction.  It took all day Friday for my Christmas cheer to return!

Have a great day!

Nancy

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Cheese Grits and Pugliese Bread


Good morning everyone! 

Even though it was a cold night, at least it was a stormless one!  We all got some much needed rest.

A Breakfast with Grits

  • Cheese Grits

Saturday morning, Kayla woke up and asked me to fix her cheese grits.  For those of you not from the Southern United States, grits are a breakfast food, consisting of flakes of coarsely ground corn and mixed with boiling water to make a porridge-like substance.  It is, I am told, very like polenta.  I would not know, since I have never been tempted to try polenta given my dislike for grits.  Kayla, however, loves them. 

Unfortunately, there was a problem with her request for grits Saturday:  I have never been able to make grits to her satisfaction, which means up to the culinary standard set by her Grandmas Dottie and Pat.  The last time I tried two years ago, I received enough of a critique from her majesty that I resolved to myself that it would be a very long time before I made grits for her again.  However, after a time lapse of two years, I decided that her home grits probationary period had run, so I was willing to give it another try, with a couple of caveats.  The first was that I wouldn’t make cheese grits since I only had shredded cheese, as opposed to a single slice of American cheese to place on top of the cooked grits, which is the way Kayla insists cheese grits should be made.  The second caveat was that no matter what, Kayla was not to tell me how much better either grandmother’s grits were, or give me continuous suggestions on how said grits should be cooked, since I intended to (strangely enough) follow the package instructions.  I almost had to perform a swearing-in ceremony on the last condition, but she finally agreed. 

She did try hard to comply with both conditions, but she had one or two minor slips.  She started to tell me the grits were too watery when I poured them in the bowl for her  but she quickly bit it back and said,”Never mind.”  Then, once she had possession of the grits, she got up, went to the refrigerator and condescended to put the shredded cheese into her grits after all.  I assume that was because she found some flavor to be lacking.  However, since she never did explain the thought process behind the adding of the cheese, technically she did not violate the “no criticism” rule.  

  • Pugliese Bread

I like bread.  While not exactly a connoisseur, I am interested in different kinds of breads and the variations in flavor and crust that can be attained, so when, on Saturday at Costco, I walked by two loaves in a paper sack labeled “Italian Pugliese Bread,” I thought I would give it a try. 

I have now concluded that “pugliese” must be Italian for “crust that can’t be cut with a chainsaw,” or perhaps “pugnaciously tough crust” since even our best and sharpest bread knife could only saw about halfway through the loaf vertically – and that only with a great deal of effort – after which you had to bend the bread to finish breaking it off.  It was not quite as difficult to cut the bread horizontally, but it still wasn’t easy.  Surprisingly, the bread when heated in the toaster oven with a little butter on it was not too tough to eat, although it was a little chewy.  Still, I am going to learn the Italian words for “soft crust that can be cut” before I try any more novel types of Italian bread!

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy