Well Kiss My . . .
How many of you remember the sitcom, Alice? That greasy diner full of big personalities was a regular on our TV when I was a kid. I don’t remember much of the story line, but the one thing that stands out clearly in my memory is the character Flo. Flo with her big hair, and sassy retorts.
I grew up in Northern Ohio. I don’t think I even knew what grits were. I had never tried them. Grits, which are simply ground corn cooked like steel cut oats, are a southern breakfast tradition. If corn was served at our breakfasts it was likely in the form of Corn Flakes, or occasionally fried cornmeal mush, one of my dad’s favorites. My first experience with grits was at a Waffle House while we were travelling. I wasn’t impressed.
Over the years as opportunities to try grits presented themselves, I would try them again. I got to the point where I found grits to be acceptable. I’d certainly never seek them out, but would tolerate them when they were served to me.
Currently, I find myself living in an area where grits are much more popular. Geographically, the area I grew up in and the area I live in now are not that far apart. Culturally, there are a lot of differences. You can even see it in the foods. We’ve learned to embrace pintos and cornbread, slaw on hot dogs and barbecue, and the famous West Virginia pepperoni roll. My palate has developed a taste for greens with vinegar, and perhaps is even learning to appreciate grits.
While shopping at The Wild Ramp recently, we were browsing the selection of new items from Weisenberger Mill. My eight year old son went directly to the bag of White Grits, and asked, “Mom, can we get grits?” Of course, my mind immediately went to a picture of Flo, and “Kiss my grits!” However, I said, “You like grits?” Apparently, he does, and I have Cracker Barrel to thank for it.
I brought home a bag of grits. We’ve had them for breakfast a couple of mornings now. The husband hasn’t touched them yet. The kids chow them down. I have actually enjoyed them. They have a good flavor, and fresh off the stove with a touch of salt and butter, they are creamy, warm and comforting. A nice start to these cold spring mornings.
Earlier this week Beth encouraged us to try new things in her post, “What’s it Taste Like?” It is true. Our food tastes are greatly influenced by our culture and by our parents food preferences. I would add that many new things are acquired tastes. In parenting books they often encourage you to present a new food to your child up to ten times before writing it off as a food they don’t like. I think as adults we could use the same rule. Who knows what we might find that we really do enjoy!
Stephanie Appleton is a small farmer in the hills of West Virginia. Find more of her family’s adventures at Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood.