Better Than Grits on the Table

Those of us of a certain age will remember James Oldsmobile, late of Charleston. Hell, those of us of a certain age remember Oldsmobiles. James Olds had a very specific and memorable television ad where their Olds were advertised for $8,888. In a good old Charleston accent that was pronounced ate-e-ate-ate-e-ate.

At the end of the ad, old Mr. James said, “That’s bettah than grits on the tay-bull”

He was wrong then and now

There’s nothing better than grits on the table

Or is it hominy when it’s on the table?

In this part of the world hominy means cooked grits, not the hominy that has to be soaked in lye or whatever they do out west or south of the border

Venerable Charleston Receipts tells us that grits are the raw product, hominy on the table

Either way, there is nothing better than grits on the table

For a recent gathering, I made the following baked grits

Charleston Receipts has a version called an “Awendaw” or a “Hominy Surprise”

My mother added a contribution for a grits casserole to Sea Island Seasons published by the Beaufort County Open Land Trust

There are many versions for Cheese Grits Souffle’, too

All are good

But I think this Cheesy Grits Casserole is damned fine

Especially if you use our pals’ stone ground grits. Milled from the same family mill for generations. Thanks Anne Marie and Jimmy Hagood!

Charleston Favorites Stone Ground Grits. White Grits. Gluten Free for anyone with a gluten issue

This works well when there’s a crowd to feed and can be made a day ahead then baked the next morning. If making the day ahead, pour into casserole dish and let cool on counter before covering with plastic wrap and putting in the fridge overnight

I adapted this from a receipt Billy Reid, he of the fashion world fame, submitted to a food magazine

The last time I made it, I made it a day ahead

Those who were partakers asked for the receipt

Here it is

And, there is nothing better than grits on the table

Cheesy Grits Casserole

8 cups water

2 cups stone ground grits

Salt and white pepper

1 stick butter, cut into 8 tsps

1/2 lb. (8 oz) extra sharp white cheddar cheese (yellow is fine, too), grated by hand. Do NOT use pre-grated cheese. It’s covered in starches to keep it from caking and it doesn’t melt well

3 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter well a 13×9 baking dish. Bring water to full boil and stir in grits. Turn down heat to low to medium low and cook grits over for 30 minutes stirring to prevent lumping and sticking. After 30 mins add salt and white pepper to taste. Stir and cook 10 more minutes. You may need to add a cup of water or so if the grits are too lumpy.

Take off the heat and add butter and mix well, then cheese and mix well then, finally, eggs and mix well. The residual heat from the grits will cause the eggs to set up but not cook

Pour into baking dish and bake at 350 for 1 hour until top is starting to brown a little

Let stand 15 minutes before serving

You can serve another Bloody Mary, fill water glasses, gather the plates, pour another cup of coffee, and say the blessing while it cools

Really a guest friendly dish

All for less than $8,888

But it’ll be one of the best things you ate-e-ate.

5 thoughts on “Better Than Grits on the Table

  1. You’re to young to remember “Clarence, don’t turn nobody down, McCants” at McCants furniture on upper King Street! 

    Sent from the all new AOL app for Android


    1. At the Metropolitan Furniture Store, 474 and 501 King Street.
      Never to be confused with – “at J.L. Goldberg, Sonny’s got a deal for you.” Sonny Goldberg a/k/a The King Street Singer.
      P.S. Hamlin, Betsy’s cousin Sissy was married to Larry James back in the day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Being from Beaufort and the Lowcountry and living in Western PA for the last 28 years, I have found it necessary to become an expert in making grits, to my friends and family’s delight. I bring a few bags of those magic grits back north every time we come home. In my well used Le Creuset pot we got for a wedding gift from my parents I bring water, butter and salt to a boil, put in the correct amount of grits, stir back to a boil, cover, turn as low as it goes on simmer. I do stir occasionally but keeping the lid on tight is important, I will add sharp cheddar at the end-sometimes. I have made a lot of fans up here of all of the Lowcountry cooking and will never stop making the best grits I can.
    And thanks for your articles Hamlin, makes remember my home every time!

    Trey Coates

    Liked by 1 person

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