Meals to Die by, no. 15

We will take a turn, today, and eat a food that saved two lives. But, overall, is better known for shortening them.

Four minutes into My Cousin Vinny and executions are already being mentioned. This is initially why I thought of this movie for the series. Excitedly I set the movie to play and found out that despite the multiple deaths and the threat of two more, it doesn’t fit.

Then, Texas entered its third worst drought. The ground…plants…people are being slowly cooked. As NPR so cheerily informs me every morning this is bad. Very bad. For this year and next. For corn prices. For beef prices. The stable dry heat makes things even worse…because it’s stable. It’s bad because not only Texas is hurting.

Then the other day there was a promise of rain. There was, for a few lucky individuals, some rain. Not enough to discover if our cars had positraction or experience flooding – the much more likely problem in Austin, but refreshing drops of water all the same.

As a reward to the sky and perhaps offering further inspiration I’d like to encourage things to grow and live for a bit.

Sure, the testimony of four individuals saved Bill Gambini and Stan Rothenstein. But, the grits were first. That was what dulled the electric chair glow just a bit, restoring power to the defense.

Described as a vehicle for delivering cheese or butter grits are not known as health food. Here’s something surprising though, grits are polenta. Polenta is grits. Mostly the same food, but with reputations differing as if they were tomatoes and pork. This confused me greatly. I was afraid mine were sticking out like a sore thumb. Eventually a grits fan explained that yes – grits are really just corn meal and the dish can be made with either white or yellow corn meal.

Are  you sure?

I’m positive. As defined in Authoritative Grits. Grits must originate from corn. The texture and variety of corn is acceptable and varies by geographic region.

Even with this overwhelming evidence these are not the grits shown in My Cousin Vinny. Those are made from hominy — which is still corn. Perhaps a self-respecting southerner wouldn’t even recognize these. Oh, well. That’ll be a meal for the future.

Fans of Meals to Die by (every time I chuckle writing that knowing that I am the only one loving something so brightly macabre) have probably been saddened by the lack of posts this summer. It all went awry in May due to repeated counting mistakes. No fear. I’ve been practicing (1, 2, 5, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9) and aim to post one wonderfully light-hearted grim post the last week of each month.

Grits with Smoked Gouda

3 ½ cups water (or vegetable broth or water plus one vegetable bouillon cube)
½ white wine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup grits (corn meal, hominy)
3 handfuls shredded smoked gouda
5 normal size spoonfuls sour cream
salt and pepper

In a good-sized pot bring the water (or broth) to a boil.  Add in the wine and the garlic and shallots. Slowly stir in the grits. Reduce heat to low and cook until tender, stirring frequently. Takes about 20 minutes (unless the laws of physics really don’t exist in your kitchen).

Stir in the cheese and then the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper.

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