It was late in the 1700's in South Carolina where corn was a valuable crop at the time. Slaves were used to harvest and plant
everything around the plantations then. After the harvesting of the corn was done, it was taken to the grist mill to be ground into
flour and also grain for the animals. After the grist was done, there were these little kernels, or gritty pieces, left over that were
swept out the back door into barrels. These barrels would be disposed of by the slaves, because the grit was not edible. But,
the slaves were taking it back to their homes and using it. They found that if they put a kettle onto the fire and got the water
to boiling, they could pour the grit into the kettle and it would soften up. After several tries at finding a way to use it, they happened
upon a recipe. Boil it for many hours, let it set and soak for more hours. Then take out the sticky gritty mess and put it in a skillet
with some lard and bacon bits and fry it up. Then put some eggs on it and some gravy and the slaves had a very delicious meal.
Now the grit was free, because white folks had not found a use for it. Then one day, the plantation owner, happened by a kettle
full of boiling grits. "What is in this kettle?", he asked. "Grits", said one of the slave women. "What in the hell is grits?" Just
left over grindings from the corn" "It is not for white folks, sir" The owner, tried a sample of the boiling grits and spit it out. "You
are right, these are not for white folks"
Then one day, he was going through the kitchen, and saw two slaves eating the fried grits with some leftovers. "Is that the grits
you make out there in the kettle?" "Yes, sir, it is sir" "I will try what you are having there" "The black woman gave him a small
dish of the grits with some of the leftover ham. "Oh lordy!, he said. This is mighty good"
After that, the word spread around the plantation owners about the grits. No longer were they given to the blacks freely. They
were bagged up and sold. The owners soon had competitions to see which one could cook better grits. In short order, the black
slaves were back to eating scraps and whatever else they could muster from their farms. Grits were now only for the white folks.
Restaurant grits is a specialty in only some southern states; with North and South Carolina leading the way. Alabama, Georgia,
and Mississippi are the others. Grits never became that popular in the other states. But as southern people migrated, so did the
love of grits. Even "Denny's" has grits on their menu. But to find fresh, boiled and fried grits you have to go to the Carolinas.
And even today, every cook says his/her grits are the best.
Edited by Ol' Smoke, 26 November 2013 - 12:48 PM.