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One Half Serving of Grits, Please!
by Jack Kean

What is a half serving of grits anyway? In the whole history of the grit eating world has anyone ever actually ordered a half serving? ďExcuse me maíam. Iíll have the hungry hunter special, four eggs over easy, 8 slices of bacon, biscuits and gravy and, oh yeah, a half serving of grits.Ē I donít think so. That kind of begs the question, can you really have a half-serving of grits?

As is my habit, I was reading the preparation instructions conveniently located on the back of a small bag of grits. Donít laugh! I always read the directions even though Iíve been making grits for longer than I am about to admit. Itís part of the ritual. Itís just something I do. Okay, itís an obsessive-compulsive thing like locking a door three times or no stepping on cracks in the sidewalk.

Anyway, the grits bag contained instructions for making one-half serving, one serving, four servings and six servings. I first wondered why not two servings? Doesnít it make sense that a whole lot more folks would be making two servings than one-half of a serving? Two is the number I shoot for most of the time, almost never four or six and absolutely not ever one-half. Wouldnít you think the people who make grits could figure this out?

After long and sober reflection I suppose it is possible two people might want to share one serving of grits in such a manner that you could refer to each portion as one-half serving. That brings up another point. Why isnít the recipe for two half servings the same as the recipe for one whole serving? Iím not kidding, itís not. The one-half serving requires ĺ of a cup of boiling water. Math tells you that one serving would require 1Ĺ cups of boiling water. But wait. The recipe on the grits bag says that one serving is made with 11/3 cups of boiling water. Why?

In order to answer these questions I called the 800 number on the back of the grits bag. The lady who answered was located in Peoria, Illinois. Thatís right, I called Illinois to ask a question about grits from a woman who likely wouldnít fix grits to avoid starvation. What is this world coming to? They promised a return call, but it never came. Go figure.

You might well make the argument that this is just too much information about grits, but truth is a lot of people are interested in grits. Several years ago I put up a web page about grits and though it is now lost in the ether of the Internet and I donít know how to find it, one or two e-mails arrive every month asking about grits. A Canadian writer wondered whether he could use corn meal for grits. Northerners most frequently ask where they can find grits or where they can buy the brand I recommended.

Even southerners sometimes ask how to fry grits. This is the sad result of too many fast food breakfasts. Fried grits are wonderful and another reason that making a half-serving of grits is a monumental waste of time.

Normally I make more grits than we can eat in one sitting and save the remainder in the refrigerator. The next day I cut the grits into small chunks and toss them in flour with a little corn meal thrown in. Fry them in whatever kind of oil you like until they are golden brown. Put a dash of salt on them and enjoy.

You canít get more Southern than that.



Jack Kean is a native Mississippian who currently resides in Pelham, Alabama. He is the author of Deadly Sacrifice and Being From The South Doesnít Make Me Stupid. He is a regular columnist for Modern Senior Living and a contributing columnist to Sand Mountain Living, Tombigbee Country Magazine, SO&SO and other publications.

You may contact him at kean54@yahoo.com or through his website http://kean55.tripod.com.

And for more of Jack's stories, try these links:
"RV Freewheelin'" at rvfreewheelin.com
"Old Grouch Restaurant Reviews" at OldGrouch.synthasite.com
"Bodock Post" at BodockPost.com
"Hey, Paw, We Got Bagels?" at USADEEPSOUTH.com
"Ketchup Bottles and Manhood" at USADEEPSOUTH.com

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