To Grit or Not To Grit
As a Yankee living in the South I quickly learned there are certain foods that one is suppose to like. Like grits.
Whenever I think of grits I can’t help but but remember the scene from My Cousin Vinny when Vincent Laguardia Gambini, played by Joe Pesce, and his girlfriend Mona Lisa Vito, played by Marisa Tomei, first encounter a grit. Not unlike my own experience I must admit.
Today I met a colleague for breakfast at one of Atlanta’s trendy morning meeting restaurants — the West Egg Café. As I was about to take a bite of my grits I stopped mid fork and said to Mathilde, “I hated grits until I tried these (stone ground grits).” She looked at me and said, “That’s a pretty strong statement.”
My thoughts turned to other foods in my food repertoire that I’ve hated. When I was little that included Swiss cheese, cooked canned tuna and cooked soup carrots. That’s pretty much it. Later I added chitins to the list of foods not to ever encounter again. Just could not get past the after taste or the texture. However I love love love fried clams with bellies. Go figure. Guess it’s the Boston influence.
My dad was the adventurous eater in our family and his love of trying new foods was passed along to me. We explored the mysteries of Boston’s Chinatown and walked the streets of the North End eating thin sliced gooey cheese pizza served on pieces of waxed paper. Without a fork or knife! He took me to my first French restaurant and in the process encouraged me to taste and try new cuisines.
While today I can say Swiss cheese, soup carrots and really good grits (!) are on my “To Eat” list that hot tuna casserole is still a on the Do Not Eat List.
Along the way I’ve discovered that grits are not only for breakfast. Shrimp and grits have become one of my favorites. Click into this Shrimp and Grits recipe from the Queen of Southern Cooking Paula Deen.
Thinking outside your food comfort zone can take you to some interesting places. Some you’ll never want to see again but others you’ll want to come back to gain and again.