I'm close to wrapping up my first 10 months living in The South. Some days it feels as though I have been here for years and other days I think it was just yesterday that I pulled into town, my single mom Nissan Rogue packed to the cloth covered ceiling.
During a recent phone conversation I was called out by a friend up North that I have the occasional 'twang' in my speech. This set in motion a few hours of internal dialogue where I debated whether or not I was disconnecting from my brisk paced, chapped lipped, Northern self. And settling in to a life of long winded stories, extended Summers, and sugary sweet back stabbing.
In the end I started thinking of all the things I have so far taken away from my time in The Land of Stars and Bars. I have made some wonderful friends. I have met some interesting characters. I have learned there are people out in the world named Peanut and Dickey. I have learned that 'Bless Her Heart' is at once the meanest and nicest thing you can say about someone behind their back. I have learned that even though "it tastes wonderful but it's not as good as my mommas" is not an insult, but really a declaration of love to the woman who fed you first. I have learned that when Miss Lillian at the local wine bar tells you she doesn't appreciate the profanity coming from the adjacent party you make damn sure your friends no longer curse in her establishment. I have learned that cook out and BBQ are NOT the same thing. I have learned that cussing someone out is very different from blessing someone out. I have learned that racism is alive and well, though most often whispered and set up with an apology before hand. I have learned to confidently order my burgers and hot dogs "all the way". And that sweet tea is best when poured from a giant plastic jug tattooed by a Sharpie indicating it as such. And you don't call the police. You "Call The Law".
After 10 months I can say with confidence that moving south was like moving to a new country. Though within the confines of the United States of America, The South has a streak of nationalism that runs like a 'sad streak' deep in the heart of an under baked pound cake. It is part of the whole, tastes a little like its surroundings, but not appreciated by everyone. I will proudly confess here and now that I love the 'sad streak' in a pound cake. I like that it is different. And find comfort in knowing that in one slice I can taste the familiarity of a white Christmas and relaxation of the mid summer cook out.
In honor of my slowly expanding Southern Roots here is a recipe for Fried Sweet Grit Cakes.
Fried Sweet Grit Cakes
Inspired by the internets
Following the directions on the package of instant grits, make your desired number of servings. For a 9x13 size pan that would feed roughly five, I believe, I used the 6 serving instructions on the package. I also added 1/2 cup of sugar to the boiling water (making them sweet grits). Cutting back on the water by roughly 1 cup.
Once grits are done spread them out in a parchment or wax paper lined 9x13 pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 45 mins to overnight if desired.
In the meantime, heat a skillet over medium heat and fill about 1/4" deep with oil for frying.
After grits are set, cut into desired size (or shape using cookie cutters). I recommend not too small as they may crumble when handled.
Dredge the cut grits in flour, then whisked egg, then again in flour. Frying a few at a time as to not crowd the pan. Turn the grit cakes after a few minutes and removed from the fry oil after desired browning is achieved. Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Serve warm with maple syrup, powdered sugar, or fruit compote of choice.