Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Believe in Peace, Love and Hominy

Many times, I've tried to like grits. But I could never get past the bland taste and grainy texture. In the South, eating grits is pretty much a religion, and I have to say the Hominy Grill has finally made me a believer.

My brother Matt, sister-in-law Teresa and I recently visited this downtown Charleston, S.C., establishment for breakfast. I took one bite of Matt's plate of shrimp and grits and thought, "That's what I should've ordered!" I had buckwheat pancakes that were mighty tasty, but nothing akin to the savory goodness of shrimp sauteed with mushrooms, scallions and bacon atop a creamy "sauce" of cheese grits.

No wonder it was so good. Turns out that Hominy Grill's Chef Robert Stehling won the James Beard Best Chef Southeast award in 2008.

I did a little research and found out that grits--or hominy--was first introduced to colonists in Jamestown, Va., by Native Americans as bowls of boiled corn. The Indians called it "rockahomine," and colonists shortened the word to "hominy."

Today, shrimp and grits is a quintessential Southern dish that's graduated from breakfast into dinner menus of swanky restaurants across the South. Readers of Garden & Gun magazine recently named shrimp and grits the winner over (gasp!) pulled pork barbecue in a Southern Food Championship.

Of course, Jenn would probably disagree. She's a lover of Lexington-style BBQ, and who can blame her? I may believe in hominy, but I don't believe in comparisons when it comes to picking a favorite Southern food. It's just too hard to do!

As for the rest of you out there who aren't exactly singing the praises of grits, check out the other delectable dishes on the breakfast menu for Hominy Grill, like the high-rise biscuit smothered in sausage gravy. It's all good!

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