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new debate: "grits IS good"? no way. it's "grits ARE good."

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alkapal Jun 24, 2009 08:07 AM

since making sense did not want to clutter up a relatively non-contentious thread on southern cooking http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/622738 , and bayoucook agreed, i have now begun this thread.

hazelhurst contends "grits" is a singular noun, citing some cookbook from the university of north carolina (obviously infiltrated these days by yankees). http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/622738#4800341

i know deep down in my heart that "grits ARE good" -- and that "grits" is not a "singular" noun. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6227...

and as making sense usually does (;-)... she keenly observes that:
"this is why God gave us Summertime. So we can sit on the porch and argue over weighty matters like whether one says "grits is..." or "grits are..."
Other than the Wo-ah (otherwise known as That Recent Unpleasantness with the North,) how many other things are as important as the food battles that have consumed us under trees, in porch swings, in fishing boats, and over dinner?
Should I get everyone another bourbon?"
~~~~~~

so....have at it. debate. pull out your hair. gnash teeth. whatever....
(and to those who do not care for grits, this thread isn't about whether one likes to eat or otherwise "approve" of them. sorry.).

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  1. The Chowhound Team Jul 8, 2009 01:37 PM

    This thread is getting pretty far afield of the original question, so we're going to lock it now.

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    1. r
      racer x Jul 7, 2009 11:09 AM

      How about "pork chops"?
      Should it be, "My friend's pork chops are real good" or "My friend's pork chops is real good"?

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      1. re: racer x
        h
        hazelhurst Jul 7, 2009 12:27 PM

        Well, that's a different skillet of bacon....

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        1. re: hazelhurst
          Paulustrious Jul 7, 2009 04:08 PM

          ...and bacons are right good.

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      2. fresnohotspot Jul 7, 2009 09:18 AM

        At ma local Dinnys, I likes the waitresses to serve ma grit next to ma hash brown.

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        1. re: fresnohotspot
          paulj Jul 7, 2009 09:58 AM

          An old 'Boys Life' quality of joke:
          Patron: I like some grits
          Waitress: Hominy girts?
          Patron: Oh, a half dozen ...

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          1. re: fresnohotspot
            h
            hazelhurst Jul 7, 2009 10:01 AM

            But Denny's rice are no good.

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          2. Davwud Jul 7, 2009 09:06 AM

            I thought it was Grits be.....as in Dem grits be good!!

            DT

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            1. r
              racer x Jul 6, 2009 08:47 PM

              I don't think the -s on the end of grits is the whole story, in terms of people being "confused" into thinking it should take a plural verb form. We don't have that problem with other words that end in -s that are obviously unitary (such as glass or penis). I think it's the fact that grits always come in collections of bits that leads us to think of the word grits in collective noun terms with a plural verb form.

              I'm curious as to what the "grits is" folks would say is the preferred way to speak of collards:
              "The collards is good" or "the collards are good"?
              For me, it's the same as with grits -- "the collards are good."

              7 Replies
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              1. re: racer x
                alkapal Jul 7, 2009 04:01 AM

                strange that when one is handling a collard leaf, one doesn't say, i've got a "collard green."
                "the collard greens are good."

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                1. re: alkapal
                  Scargod Jul 7, 2009 04:56 AM

                  Nope. One would probably exclaim, "looky cheer, I got me a big dang leaf!" If you had more you could make a mess o' greens.

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                  1. re: Scargod
                    h
                    hazelhurst Jul 7, 2009 08:56 AM

                    "mess" is the proper and preferred term. I have no argument with "this is good collards" But the rule need not apply consistently,,that's the whole damn point.

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                    1. re: hazelhurst
                      r
                      racer x Jul 7, 2009 11:06 AM

                      Oh, hazelhurst, I just noticed you had already discussed the greens/grits/mess connection way back yonder (jun 24).

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                      1. re: racer x
                        h
                        hazelhurst Jul 7, 2009 12:26 PM

                        Yup--it seems to go in a circle. And then someone pulls out a dictionary and we gotta pound that down.

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                        1. re: hazelhurst
                          alkapal Jul 7, 2009 03:28 PM

                          way back on june 28, i pulled out the oxford english dictionary which said that the word "grits" is a plural noun. nobody peeped!

                          grits sure are good!

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                          1. re: alkapal
                            h
                            hazelhurst Jul 7, 2009 04:14 PM

                            why bother---who cares what the OED says about something that ain't their business anyway

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              2. r
                racer x Jul 6, 2009 08:39 PM

                For what it's worth, never heard anyone in my family say "The grits is ready." It was always "The grits are ready."

                The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed., avers:
                grits - n pl but sing or pl in construction

                "The grits is" would only sound right to me if it is describing a particular serving or dish of grits.

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                1. Paulustrious Jul 2, 2009 12:30 PM

                  Maybe grits are good, but I prefer gravelax.

                  (and fresh ground coffee)

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                  1. re: Paulustrious
                    Scargod Jul 3, 2009 02:13 PM

                    There ain't no "Gravelox" in "grits" and there ain't any gravelox in the South, neither!
                    We're talkin' grits, here.... so there ain't no gravlox in this thread.
                    Now, eggs, biscuits, grits 'n red-eye gravy ..... an' coffee.... then yur talkin'!

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                    1. re: Scargod
                      c oliver Jul 4, 2009 04:46 AM

                      Is red-eye gravy more a Texas thing than a Southern one, Scar? I grew up with only butter (lots of it), salt (again plenty) and pepper on my grits.

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                      1. re: c oliver
                        Scargod Jul 4, 2009 07:09 AM

                        I believe it is a Southern thing, in general, but my folks were from Central and East Texas and their folks came from Tennessee. It was served on my grandfather's table (east of Austin), and we sopped our biscuits in it or poured it on our biscuits. http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/n...
                        This gravy, sausage gravy and so many fatty foods, like sausage, bacon, eggs fried in bacon (and smearing lard and sugar on biscuits), probably account for my father's demise of a coronary at 45. Thank God I don't eat much of this kind of diet and I have Lipitor!

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                        1. re: Scargod
                          kattyeyes Jul 4, 2009 07:12 AM

                          <<mixed with water or black coffee>>
                          Yowzah!

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                          1. re: kattyeyes
                            c oliver Jul 4, 2009 07:16 AM

                            I've only ever heard of red-eye gravy made from coffee. Can't imagine it being done with water, can you, S-god?

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                            1. re: c oliver
                              bayoucook Jul 4, 2009 07:34 AM

                              I've had it only with coffee, not water, too. That's what helps make it red-eye gravy, right? You don't see it around here as much as you used to.
                              My maternal grandmother made the best red-eye gravy ever (she also slaughtered and cured her own hogs). We also regularly had tomato gravy and onion gravy with biscuits.

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                              1. re: bayoucook
                                kattyeyes Jul 4, 2009 07:51 AM

                                It's all part of my ongoing Chowhound education. Thanks, y'all (said the Yankee). The coffee rather than water thing must be akin to how the recipe for peanut butter noodles calls for hot tea instead of water. Just a little extra depth of flavor (as someone mentioned on the PB noodle thread).

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                              2. re: c oliver
                                Scargod Jul 4, 2009 07:51 AM

                                I agree that coffee would be preferable (and strong coffee, no less), but there seems to be various versions; even some with sugar, which we didn't do or I don't remember picking up on. The main thing is to deglaze the skillet and that it get very savory and strong.

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                                1. re: c oliver
                                  h
                                  hazelhurst Jul 5, 2009 02:19 PM

                                  It is not red-eye gravy without coffee....

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                      2. Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2009 09:33 PM

                        As one, who grew up with a grit "tree" in the backyard, I would say, "grits are good."

                        Almost anyway that you slice it, there are plurals afoot. You want singular, and then you must work hard to structure the sentences.

                        Hunt

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                        1. r
                          RLTRLDY Jun 29, 2009 04:48 PM

                          Since no one can eat just one, grits ARE good! lol!

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                          1. re: RLTRLDY
                            m
                            MakingSense Jun 29, 2009 04:51 PM

                            You get MY vote for the best answer!!!
                            Terrific!

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                            1. re: RLTRLDY
                              LindaWhit Jun 30, 2009 06:19 AM

                              That's definitely the BEST (and most logical!) reply! LOL

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                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                c oliver Jul 4, 2009 04:44 AM

                                Aren't there just times when one answer is so perfect that you wish the thread would end right there??? Never happens but....

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                            2. alkapal Jun 27, 2009 09:47 PM

                              even the english know that "grits is" a **plural** noun. ;-). http://www.askoxford.com:80/concise_o...

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                              1. m
                                MakingSense Jun 27, 2009 02:34 PM

                                New internet shorthand: FOOTPSLMAO = Falling Out Of The Porch Swing Laughing My Ass Off.
                                See, Alkapal, I told you what would happen if you didn't split this off.
                                The San Francisco-based CH moderators are probably scratching their heads, wondering how a bunch of crazy Southerners can go more than 100 entries debating "Grits is..." vs. "Grits are..." and they must be puzzling over why this matters.
                                I wonder if we've driven them out for more bourbon? If the Pimento Cheese thread didn't do it, this one surely will. Or maybe we could rail about White Lily flour again...

                                Technically, I agree with Hazelhurst. Grits is a collective noun and that "s" on the end throws us off. Nobody argues over "rice is..." or "rice are..."
                                I suppose if I were writing something for publication, especially if it were going to be published in national media, I might use the formal "grits is..." but, hell, that's not the way we TALK, is it?
                                There are lots of things that we Southerners say that we don't write or use if we're speaking in formal circumstances. And all y'all know it.
                                I ask my kids if they want more of "these grits." The 10 pounds of grits that I just got from Anson Mills "are" in the freezer. I put "them" on to soak overnight. Now I have learned to cook "them" in the crockpot.
                                I would say that "shrimp and grits" as a dish "is" a great main course, because it's a single thing. But we could probably argue over "cheese grits," and I would ask if you wanted "them" or "some." Of course, if I made "them" into a souffle, then I would put "it" on the buffet table and ask if you wanted some of "this."

                                My conclusion is that you just KNOW what to say. As the old saying goes, "American by birth, Southern by the Grace of God." That's the only way to know if you should say "is" or "are." It sounds right.
                                Pity the poor Yankees who didn't grow up speaking the language, bless their hearts.
                                Have another bourbon?
                                What shall we discuss next?

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                                1. re: MakingSense
                                  h
                                  hazelhurst Jun 27, 2009 03:21 PM

                                  Well, I've tried, Lord knows I've tried, to get it across that I think it is a switch hitter. "There are good garlic grits" is fine but I prefer "This is good garlic grits." That's jist cuz heard grits is good fum when I was a boy. Oh well, I'm willing to let them wander around out there making vodka "martinis"(shudder) and putting globs of ketchup on lump crabmeat. Just not in front of me, please.

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                                  1. re: MakingSense
                                    alkapal Jun 27, 2009 09:52 PM

                                    >>>""I would say that "shrimp and grits" as a dish "is" a great main course, because it's a single thing. But we could probably argue over "cheese grits," and I would ask if you wanted "them" or "some." Of course, if I made "them" into a souffle, then I would put "it" on the buffet table and ask if you wanted some of "this."""<<<
                                    ~~~~~~~
                                    a "dish" *is*.
                                    a "soufflé" *is*.

                                    cheese grits? i want some! ;-).

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                                  2. FoodFuser Jun 26, 2009 08:00 PM

                                    The only reason they didn't shoot Joe Pesci, in the cafe scene, was because then they'd have to carry him out, and nobody wanted to touch that damn purple suit.

                                    Plus, nobody wanted to dig the grave: the traditional graves for lawyers in that county is 20 feet deep. This so that the deceased barrier will enter heaven, because "deep down, they're really good guys."

                                    As to the content of his discourse, only a limerick will do:

                                    Since I'm born way below Mason Dixon
                                    My grammar could sometimes use fixin'.
                                    I use "y'all" when it fits
                                    But when_it comes down to grits
                                    "they" "are" good, and no Yankees need mix in.

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                                    1. re: FoodFuser
                                      Paulustrious Jun 27, 2009 06:52 AM

                                      I too would write a limerick but I can't think of anything that rhymes with grits.

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                                      1. re: Paulustrious
                                        l
                                        latindancer Jun 27, 2009 07:27 AM

                                        Sh....t I got some grits on my tits.

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                                        1. re: Paulustrious
                                          FoodFuser Jun 27, 2009 11:55 AM

                                          Paulustrious:

                                          Your tongue is lodged firmly in cheek
                                          If no rhymers for "grits" ye bespeak.
                                          It's okay to stay quit
                                          of just: sh*t, t*t, and z*t.
                                          You'll come up with a limerick unique.

                                          (be sure to see Alkapals links to rhyming aids in your OP on "Recipe Limericks":)

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610864

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                                          1. re: Paulustrious
                                            BobB Jun 29, 2009 09:22 AM

                                            You can't find a good rhyme for grits?
                                            Drink some coffee to sharpen your wits
                                            Then take out your pen,
                                            And try once again
                                            I'm sure you'll find something that fits.

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                                          2. re: FoodFuser
                                            h
                                            hazelhurst Jun 27, 2009 08:01 AM

                                            If to limmericks we are to resort
                                            Then I'll play and still keep it short
                                            Let it be understood
                                            That grits IS good
                                            As for school ma'rms and grammer, abort!

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                                            1. re: hazelhurst
                                              FoodFuser Jun 27, 2009 10:54 AM

                                              True, the case for the singular grit,
                                              as an argument, never will quit.
                                              The school ma'rms may plague us
                                              and professors dissuade us.
                                              but "grits are" is the saying that fits.

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                                              1. re: FoodFuser
                                                h
                                                hazelhurst Jun 27, 2009 11:32 AM

                                                I like it! I disagree, but I like it.

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                                                1. re: hazelhurst
                                                  FoodFuser Jun 27, 2009 12:55 PM

                                                  (penned with benevolent understanding to Hazelhurst et al.)
                                                  Link to the below-referred Carolina breakfast emporium, where grits "are" served; useful quick click as background for this post:
                                                  http://www.recipezaar.com/Crooks-Corn...
                                                  Gosh, it's HARD to set up a joke in text-only environment.
                                                  ------------------------------

                                                  Hazelhurst, if you started this mess
                                                  would you be kind enough to confess
                                                  the quotes of the cook
                                                  from that UNC book:
                                                  "Southern Cooking" from UNC Press?

                                                  While I don't often tout my degrees
                                                  I've got one that's from UNC.
                                                  But the_credential of honor
                                                  Are those morn's at Crook's Corner
                                                  where "the grits are" served up with glee.

                                                  Does your statement stem just from your reading?
                                                  What's the latitude, please, of your breeding?
                                                  Native speakers implore
                                                  that non-natives explore
                                                  our grammar, 'fore critically proceeding.

                                                  If it turns out I must count my grits
                                                  before savoring conglomerate bits,
                                                  Then consider it rehab
                                                  to come fix our vocab...
                                                  So much better to just call it quits.

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                                                  1. re: FoodFuser
                                                    h
                                                    hazelhurst Jun 27, 2009 03:06 PM

                                                    I had a brilliant reply that vanished but I'll try again:

                                                    The blame I cannot assume
                                                    There are others you may care to contume
                                                    But I'll hold my redout,
                                                    Grits "is" sans a doubt
                                                    Pluralists need not leave the room

                                                    My credentials? Why certainly, sir
                                                    Are second to none, I aver.
                                                    Born here in Dixie
                                                    Some Boston to the mixie
                                                    Add Highlands NC, and stir.

                                                    My mother, who now is non-est
                                                    Was an editrix, one of the best
                                                    It drove her to fits
                                                    To pluralize grits
                                                    But she's laughing, from Eternal Rest.

                                                    Though N'awlins is my native clime
                                                    I can play both sides of the line
                                                    I just hate to see
                                                    Sundered comity
                                                    On a matter so clearly benign.

                                                    Some things just HAVE to be so.
                                                    No logic, no rules, no indeed, no. [that's cheating--I admit it]
                                                    And grits simply is
                                                    Hold the bourbon..Gin Fizz!
                                                    That "plural" hoss shay is faux.

                                                    The Chicago Manual of Style
                                                    Might howl about this for awhile
                                                    What we need is a "Fowler"
                                                    To help on this howler
                                                    And with that, I close with a :)

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                                                    1. re: hazelhurst
                                                      FoodFuser Jun 27, 2009 07:18 PM

                                                      I'd love to reply in the Irish
                                                      But Scotch whiskey has got me tad tirish.
                                                      If the limerick God
                                                      knew I'd 'bibed smoked peat sod
                                                      He would screw up my meter. He's Ire-ish.

                                                      ----------------------------

                                                      I guess members from all camps should agree to disagree, and sit down at the table and break bread together. And break grits.

                                                      "Break grits?!" Uh - ohhh.......

                                                      :)

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                                                      1. re: FoodFuser
                                                        h
                                                        hazelhurst Jun 27, 2009 07:43 PM

                                                        Why do I smell "The Mulberry Tree in the Quad?"

                                                        You are good,,,very very good. Go 'head, play when yore frien' Mr. Glenn Livet is help'in. Me? Ahm having a beer, m'self

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                                                        1. re: FoodFuser
                                                          h
                                                          hazelhurst Jun 27, 2009 08:07 PM

                                                          BTW--thanks..this is a LOT of fun!

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                                                          1. re: hazelhurst
                                                            FoodFuser Jun 27, 2009 08:44 PM

                                                            Come join in the fray of this recipe array:
                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610864

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                                                            1. re: FoodFuser
                                                              h
                                                              hazelhurst Jun 27, 2009 08:57 PM

                                                              S'ok by me--but I am out of practice for short-term demands(as you have seen). I can foul 'em off for a while...but ya gotta give me a chance to come up to speed. I believe I can do OK. [I warn you--my mother, the wordsmith--- would do ANYthing to force a rhyme...I'm of the blood.}

                                                              What fun!

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                                            2. alkapal Jun 26, 2009 06:13 AM

                                              y'all! (and i do mean you all ;-).

                                              look at this reference...it is schizophrenic. grits "is," then grits "are," then "is" then "are." funny!! http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Grits#encyclopedia

                                              this bill of the s.c. legislature, declaring grits to be the official food of s.c. is similarly (but not so obviously) schizophrenic, referring to "them" and then using "it." http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess113_1999-2000/bills/4806.htm

                                              the famous anson mills grits people use "are". http://www.ansonmills.com/recipes-corn-1.htm (btw, interesting commentary on white vs. yellow corn, in culture and flavor). http://www.ansonmills.com/recipes-corn-1.htm

                                              the anson mills story is inspiring, too: http://www.ansonmills.com/about-us-page.htm
                                              >>>""It began with grits. In 1995 Glenn [Roberts, a Charleston-based historic restoration consultant and thirty-year veteran of restaurant and hotel concept design] explored rural back roads looking for the famous white Carolina mill corn noted in antebellum plantation inventories and recipes. The corn was revered for its high mineral and floral characteristics, and its creamy mouthfeel. He found this corn in a bootlegger's field near Dillon, South Carolina in 1997, and planted and harvested his own first crop of 30 acres in 1998. Known as "Carolina Gourdseed White," the single-family hand-select dated back to the late 1600's. Gourdseed is a classic Southern dent corn, soft and easy to mill.""<<<<

                                              ~~~~
                                              answers.com says this: grits is a plural noun (used with a singular or plural verb).
                                              A ground, usually white meal of dried and hulled corn kernels that is boiled and served as a breakfast food or side dish.
                                              Coarsely ground grain, especially corn.
                                              [Alteration of Middle English grutta, coarse meal, from Old English grytta, pl. of grytt.].

                                              http://www.answers.com/topic/grits

                                              and for your edification, the creek phrase for boiled grits is húmpita hákti. http://books.google.com/books?id=ZacTAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA185&lpg=PA185&dq=creek+language+grits&source=bl&ots=vUF0oSNTym&sig=l89nH_oa5ZaWLc6Pj9Zp-Cr7veY&hl=en&ei=v85ESpGkMsKHtgejtLTbAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5 -- yeah, go and ask for that at the diner at 3 a.m,, and they're callin' the cops (or the guys with the little white jacket. ;-)).

                                              ~~
                                              as an aside, the link has a quick hop over to a listing with many s.c. grist mills/grits producers: http://www.sciway.net/shop/sc-grits.html

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                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                Paulustrious Jun 26, 2009 07:18 AM

                                                How do they measure the coarseness of grits. Do they have a coarse 60 grit grits and a fine 220 grit grits? I just noticed that was a singular question.

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                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                  c
                                                  CocoaNut Jun 26, 2009 07:22 AM

                                                  From your first link: Grits can also be made from wheat

                                                  Isn't that called Cream of Wheat? Anyone ever had a "grits" dish made from wheat?

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                                                  1. re: CocoaNut
                                                    Caralien Jun 26, 2009 07:28 AM

                                                    I have, but not since childhood. Very different flavour. There's also Cream of Rice (or there used to be).

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                                                    1. re: CocoaNut
                                                      Scargod Jun 26, 2009 07:36 AM

                                                      Yes, couscous.

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                                                      1. re: Scargod
                                                        c
                                                        CocoaNut Jun 26, 2009 07:56 AM

                                                        really???? But nothing about the texture (anymore than Cream of Wheat) is akin to <corn> grits. Googling "wheat grits" I found this:

                                                        http://www.vintagerecipes.net/books/w...

                                                        I'd like to find some to try, although I don't know if I'd have the time to cook it.

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                                                    2. re: alkapal
                                                      Will Owen Jun 26, 2009 10:05 AM

                                                      However inspiring the Anson Mills story may be, what they make is corn grits, as opposed to my beloved hominy grits. It's good stuff, don't get me wrong, but it's annoying to me that the only hominy grits I can find these days are the quick kind from Quaker or Albers or one of those supermarket brands.

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                                                      1. re: Will Owen
                                                        m
                                                        MakingSense Jun 27, 2009 02:44 PM

                                                        Anson Mills DOES have hominy grits - in both yellow and white. Hominy is a variety of corn.
                                                        http://ansonmills.com/grits.htm
                                                        Also whole dried hominy, as well as culinary lime so you can prepare it yourself.
                                                        Their products are carried by some restaurant supply houses like Surfas, so you might be able to find it locally.
                                                        Yeah, I know they (see, automatically used a plural) seem expensive, but I was spoiled from the get-go and I use Anson Mills now, except for quicky breakfasts. I just splurge on good grits and save somewhere else...

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                                                        1. re: MakingSense
                                                          bayoucook Jun 29, 2009 06:59 AM

                                                          Which is your favorite - the hominy quick grits? I might try them.

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                                                          1. re: bayoucook
                                                            alkapal Jun 29, 2009 02:05 PM

                                                            my everyday grits are quaker quick grits. they ain't gourmet, but they're just fine for an easy breakfast. those s.c. stone ground grits, though, are the best. i like their texture.

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                                                            1. re: bayoucook
                                                              m
                                                              MakingSense Jun 29, 2009 04:09 PM

                                                              I order the White Antebellum Coarse Grits in 10 pound bags and store them in the freezer. I prefer the larger grind to the Carolina Quick style of the Hominy Grits that Anson Mills sells.
                                                              You can buy small quantities and try them to see which you prefer.

                                                              These grits take a long time to cook and you have to plan ahead. They require soaking overnight and about an hour to cook.
                                                              Anson Mills now gives directions for using a crockpot and I have a small one that I use to cook 1 cup of grits. I think it's a 1 1/2 quart crockpot.
                                                              That takes several hours.

                                                              For a quick breakfast or lunch or if I'm just in a hurry, I use plain old grocery store Quaker. Not nearly as good - nowhere close! - but I get my grits fix.

                                                              BTW, if you order from AM, try some of their other stuff too. WOW. Their farro is exceptional. These folks are deadly serious about their grains.

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                                                              1. re: MakingSense
                                                                alkapal Jun 30, 2009 03:12 AM

                                                                making sense, how are their speckled grits?-- oops, i was thinking of someone else's speckled grits, maybe nora mills?
                                                                how are rice grits?
                                                                what are your top three or four favorites from anson mills, in order? (i prefer coarser grits, too).

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                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                  m
                                                                  MakingSense Jun 30, 2009 08:56 AM

                                                                  My last orders have been for the Coarse White but I love their Polenta Integrale. You can really taste the difference between that and cheap polenta, plus it gives lie to those who say that grits and polenta are the same. Ideally, they are made from different strains of corn. Polenta from flint corn which is less starchy, the same corn favored in the NE for cornmeal and johnnycakes. Grits from dent corn which give grits a creamier consistency.

                                                                  Their farro and buckwheat flour are terrific. These are other things that I can find on supermarket shelves but the quality at Anson Mills is far above. Outstanding flavor because they grow organically in small batches from heritage seed and keep them frozen until shipment. The high prices reflect their boutique-y obsession with quality. Fortunately, I don't use these all the time so I can splurge.
                                                                  They are adding new things all the time so I'm working my way through. I haven't tried the rice grits yet - or the new red peas.

                                                                  I love their newsletter and recipes. The recipe for Shrimp and Grits is as close as you can get to the "real thing." Some of the recipes require more effort than a lot of people (except for crazy Southerners in search of their heritage), may be willing to put out but every one I have tried has been great. Some of them are pretty easy though once you cook the grains....

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                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                    m
                                                                    MakingSense Jun 30, 2009 09:01 AM

                                                                    BTW, a lot of people must think we're crazy as June bugs to care so much about grits judging from lots of postings by people who "just don't get grits..."
                                                                    Especially when we're willing to pay more than $6/lb and spend so much time cooking them.

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                                                                    1. re: MakingSense
                                                                      Paulustrious Jul 1, 2009 01:55 PM

                                                                      Cooking 'them' or cooking 'it' ?

                                                                      Another nail in the coffin of the 'sissors.

                                                                      Let's nail sissors down.

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                                                                      1. re: Paulustrious
                                                                        h
                                                                        hazelhurst Jul 1, 2009 07:45 PM

                                                                        It is more that obvious that MakingSense refers to the continued practice of cookery and, therefore, "cooking them" refers to multiple batches of grits. If you can find a scissor I'll be happy to cut out a recipe

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                                                                        1. re: Paulustrious
                                                                          m
                                                                          MakingSense Jul 1, 2009 10:01 PM

                                                                          I think I used "it" for hominy. Whole dried hominy.
                                                                          Hominy grits are a different thing.

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                                                              2. re: Will Owen
                                                                FoodFuser Jun 27, 2009 10:09 PM

                                                                I feel your pain. I too miss them. And it seems that labeling reg's no longer require the older definition that "hominy" meant "corn dehulled with lye", then dried, then ground.

                                                                The lye process is an old, old gig, as lye was available from wood ash. Quizzical minds turned to the concept of stripping and milling the corn.

                                                                Just one more example of milling whole grains down to the endosperm, for better storage. And in the case of corn, more availability of niacin.

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                                                                1. re: FoodFuser
                                                                  m
                                                                  MakingSense Jun 28, 2009 09:00 PM

                                                                  Now this is confusing. Anson Mills, pretty much an authority on all-things-grits, has "hominy corn" and "hominy grits."
                                                                  They show the corn itself as different from the type of corn that is used for "regular" grits, which are made from dent corn.
                                                                  The hominy kernel is shaped differently and treated in a different way.
                                                                  They don't indicate whether their hominy grits are treated with lye. I seem to remember that it isn't always done, although it can be. Pretty sure that Quaker's are. Not sure about others on the market.

                                                                  There is a recipe in their Summer newsletter for cooking fresh hominy from the dried kernels, using culinary lime.
                                                                  http://www.ansonmills.com/recipes-hom...
                                                                  They also have a recipe to use the fresh hominy to make masa for tortillas. (Hell will freeze over before I go to that much trouble...)

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                                                              3. re: alkapal
                                                                h
                                                                hazelhurst Jun 26, 2009 01:52 PM

                                                                The word does flit back 'n forth but I stick to my guns..my mother's ghost wold not be pleased if I abandoned the position (and that "hopefully" is an adverb).

                                                                Haven't looked up the SC legilature reference yet but will do so when I have a little more time. Sounds like fun. But if SC (and I have some roots there) doesn't go my way, I just remind them of the Georgia farmer who stood under a shade tree while Sherman's boys burned his place. He was calm and someone asked him why so. "The way I see it,," he said, "you're (y'all) are headed for South Carolina and you know they started all this."

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                                                              4. pikawicca Jun 25, 2009 04:58 PM

                                                                I have NEVER heard someone say "grits is..."

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                                                                1. re: pikawicca
                                                                  Will Owen Jun 25, 2009 06:57 PM

                                                                  ... a dish, not a collection of objects. As someone well up the thread noted, we're letting that "s" fool us into thinking it's plural. I do tend to say "grits are", but that's in spite of having been repeatedly told better; you can take the boy out of the Midwest, but... One of the many Bo Whaley books I illustrated has a chapter dedicated to grits, including a short dissertation on why the true believer refers to IT as a substance, rather than as a mess of individual things.

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                                                                  1. re: Will Owen
                                                                    h
                                                                    hazelhurst Jun 25, 2009 07:01 PM

                                                                    Yer doin' th' Lord's work. I shall rush to have a look at this worthy publication.

                                                                    Come to think of it, I have heard restaurant folks say "grits is on the menu today"

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                                                                2. Uncle Bob Jun 25, 2009 04:52 PM

                                                                  Very entertaining thread....I've laughed!

                                                                  I'm surprised; however, that no one has mentioned their love for G.R.I.T.S.

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                                                                  1. re: Uncle Bob
                                                                    bayoucook Jun 26, 2009 07:58 AM

                                                                    I kind of did earlier. When I said I was a Girl Raised In The South. Too subtle?

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                                                                  2. cuccubear Jun 25, 2009 12:41 PM

                                                                    By definition “Grits” is a plural noun, like deer or sheep, so it makes sense that:

                                                                    Grits are good.

                                                                    Grit is not good.

                                                                    Grit in grits is really not good. (Good grits have no grit.)

                                                                    Florence Jean Castleberry doesn’t ask Mel to kiss her grit, which just sounds too dirty for primetime!

                                                                    I guess to avoid the argument (what fun that?) I could say “I like grits.”

                                                                    But instead I say “Grits is grits and grits are good!”

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                                                                    1. re: cuccubear
                                                                      h
                                                                      hazelhurst Jun 25, 2009 01:00 PM

                                                                      Ah believe ah'd say "good grits has no grit."

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                                                                      1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                        BobB Jun 25, 2009 01:37 PM

                                                                        Now honey, surely that's "Good grits ain't got no grit?" ;-)

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                                                                        1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                          cuccubear Jun 25, 2009 01:39 PM

                                                                          Ah believe thay don’t either. :-)

                                                                          And you suggestin’ that boiled peanuts might creep into _my_ neighborhood, s’puttin’a scarin’ into my kinfolk! Son, I say, son, there ain’t none of them boiled doodads in these parts!

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                                                                          1. re: cuccubear
                                                                            alkapal Jun 25, 2009 03:27 PM

                                                                            don't be startin' to impugn boiled peanuts now!

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                                                                            1. re: alkapal
                                                                              Caralien Jun 25, 2009 03:51 PM

                                                                              bald peanuts are good eatin'

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                                                                            2. re: cuccubear
                                                                              h
                                                                              hazelhurst Jun 25, 2009 06:45 PM

                                                                              Pardon an obvious kerrection but don't you mean "neither?"

                                                                              No boiled peanuts? Why, it's a crime! a bald, open, front of God n'everbody crime! They are healthful, nutritious, sublime, good-fer-what-ails-ya, A boon to mankind, a panacea for the soul, a treasure the equal of penecillin. It is hard--and so very tragic--to think of those who have been denied this Gift from Olympus. May as well deny a child a puppy and cause untold troubles in the mind that later emerge on criminal court dockets. No boiled peanuts? My heart grieves, GRIEVES ah say. It's a wicked, wicked world and made the more tragic when one knows that a little slice of paradise could easily assuage the afflicted, if only for the brief time afforded roll in those meads of asphodel.

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                                                                              1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                cuccubear Jun 26, 2009 06:45 AM

                                                                                Ha! I love it.

                                                                                But, honestly, I have never yet run across boiled peanuts anywhere near here, I don't know why.

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                                                                                1. re: cuccubear
                                                                                  alkapal Jun 26, 2009 06:52 AM

                                                                                  i too think it is shameful that virginia has some of the finest peanuts in the world, and we don't have boiled peanuts (that i've been able to find). maybe there are some roadside purveyors of that delicacy down around the north carolina border.

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                                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                                    Naco Jun 28, 2009 07:32 PM

                                                                                    Boiled peanuts aren't especially popular in NC, either- certainly not along the VA border, which is culturally very similar. They really only become ubiquitous once you get into South Carolina.

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                                                                                2. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                  bayoucook Jun 26, 2009 08:03 AM

                                                                                  hh - I crave them like chocoholics crave chocolate!

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                                                                          2. Paulustrious Jun 25, 2009 06:40 AM

                                                                            There is the third way...

                                                                            Some say grits is good.
                                                                            Some says grit are swell.
                                                                            Well, I say grits are tasteless bits
                                                                            And polenta is as well.

                                                                            1 Reply
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                                                                            1. re: Paulustrious
                                                                              kattyeyes Jun 26, 2009 06:12 PM

                                                                              LOLOL on your above comment AND "grits for the mill"--HA HA HA!

                                                                              I think Van the man sang it best:
                                                                              "If I don't love you baby,
                                                                              grits ain't groceries,
                                                                              eggs ain't poultry,
                                                                              and Mona Lisa was a man."

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                                                                            2. c
                                                                              CocoaNut Jun 25, 2009 06:39 AM

                                                                              What a wonderful diversion this thread is to world news!

                                                                              I suppose it could be singular if you were to only eat *a* grit – which is as an incredible idea as the interpretation that [the word] “grits” (plural – notice the “s”?) IS singular.

                                                                              Would you like a grit with those eggs?
                                                                              Would you like some grits with those eggs?

                                                                              By intent of serving portion, grits are plural; ergo, grits are good. Yes, they are!

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                                                                              1. alkapal Jun 25, 2009 05:50 AM

                                                                                did someone mention pasta as singular? pasta is good.
                                                                                but "paste" (plural) are good.

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                                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                                  chowser Jun 25, 2009 01:34 PM

                                                                                  I never remember if it's lasagne or lasagna. You use more than one lasagna noodle to make it. And, why do we say pasta but then say ziti and penne? There just is no logic--we can lalf or cry.

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                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                    cuccubear Jun 25, 2009 01:42 PM

                                                                                    Tom-ay-to, Tom-ah-to...yadda, yada, yada ;-)

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                                                                                2. alkapal Jun 25, 2009 05:18 AM

                                                                                  for all of you offering support for the singular noun, how many of you grew up eating grits, and how did your family thus refer to them (or "it" in your view)?

                                                                                  i ask because i assert that "grits are good" is correct, because that's how people who eat grits have referred to them forever and ever.

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                                                                                  1. re: alkapal
                                                                                    bayoucook Jun 25, 2009 05:32 AM

                                                                                    amen!

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                                                                                    1. re: alkapal
                                                                                      Striver Jun 25, 2009 05:37 AM

                                                                                      Well, we ate a lot more kasha than grits in my childhood home - but kasha is buckwheat groats, and as we all know groats ARE good (but kasha IS good)!! :)

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                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                        d
                                                                                        danieljdwyer Jun 25, 2009 06:04 AM

                                                                                        There's a big difference between linguistically correct and colloquially correct. Linguistically, it has to be singular. Just like how linguistically "y'all" - which most linguists accept as a perfectly valid contraction - has to be plural. That doesn't stop whole areas of the South from using "y'all" as a singular.
                                                                                        I did grow up eating grits, but not through some long family tradition. We just liked them, and they make a good gluten free alternative to oatmeal.
                                                                                        It's not accurate to say that people who eat grits have used the word as a plural forever and ever. This might be true in the South - my only 19th century Southern cookbook makes no mention of grits, so I have no idea - but it is definitely not true in the North. Prior to the Civil War, grits were every bit as much a staple of the Northern pantry as they were of the Southern pantry. I have quite a number of 18th and 19th century Northern (mostly New England) cookbooks; grits is singular in every one of them. So, at least some of the people who ate grits for at least a couple of centuries used grits as singular.
                                                                                        If it matters, the Creek word for grits is singular, and they introduced the stuff to Southerners to start with.

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                                                                                        1. re: danieljdwyer
                                                                                          bayoucook Jun 25, 2009 07:58 AM

                                                                                          I've never been in an area of the South that uses it as plural - in fact, when we hear someone on tv or in a movie use it that way, we know the writer of the script was NOT southern. I'm 56, and I've never heard it used as singular.

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                                                                                          1. re: danieljdwyer
                                                                                            WCchopper Jun 25, 2009 12:00 PM

                                                                                            I think it's dangerous to assume that all grits eaters would have the same guidelines for colloquial correctness. We are a melange- united by our love of grits, if not our grammatical handling thereof.

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                                                                                            1. re: danieljdwyer
                                                                                              alkapal Jun 25, 2009 03:21 PM

                                                                                              who uses y'all as a singular? no one.
                                                                                              and what in the heck do yankee cookbooks know about grits? you're appealing to colloquial usage, just as you reject with my approach. and if it were true that yankees ate as much of the item we're debating, then why did they stop?
                                                                                              and you know creek? amazing!

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                                                                                              1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                Caralien Jun 25, 2009 03:48 PM

                                                                                                I can say that my family has not been Yankee or Southern for over a century (except by marriage--mine). We had grits (and cornbread from a cast iron pan--not the cake version) regularly when I was growing up in and around Chicago.

                                                                                                Cookbooks are nice as reference points, but the real cooking comes from observation and eventually the permission to help out. I still can't get a recipe out of my mother (or father), but learned how to make gravy from watching my grandfather cook (first success a few years ago--based on taste memory; I almost cried if that makes sense).

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                                                                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                  d
                                                                                                  danieljdwyer Jun 25, 2009 04:47 PM

                                                                                                  You know everyone from the South? Amazing!
                                                                                                  Plenty of Southerners use y'all as singular. Your being from the South doesn't nullify my life experience, which includes being called "y'all" hundreds of times with no one else in the room. Nor would it nullify the opinion of the Southern born and bred linguists, professors at Southern universities, who have written about the recent shift in usage of the word y'all to the singular.
                                                                                                  Why did grits stop being popular in the North in the post-Bellum era? The economy of the North industrialized. We were cut off from our main supply of corn during the Civil War. Our population shifted to the point where people who can trace their descent to the ante-Bellum era are a small minority. Dozens of other reasons. There are quite a number of food history textbooks that go into a great amount of detail on the grain shift of the 19th century. After that point, rye became the main grain grown in the north. This ended with prohibition, which led to the grain shift of the 20th century.
                                                                                                  I'm not appealing to colloquial usage, and I didn't reject your approach. I very clearly stated that your approach is valid, if colloquial. I tried to lend a linguistic perspective, which is very plain. From a linguistic perspective, grits cannot be plural. That is an illogical construction. Even from a descriptive perspective an illogical construction can never be valid. I didn't say that the linguistic perspective has any more inherent value than the colloquial one.
                                                                                                  By opening a debate on the issue, you seemed to be open to differing perspectives. If you didn't want any non-Southerners to answer, you could have stated such.
                                                                                                  And no, I don't speak Creek. Since when does someone need to be able to speak Creek to look up journal articles on the history of grits and find that simple fact?

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                                                                                                  1. re: danieljdwyer
                                                                                                    bayoucook Jun 26, 2009 08:02 AM

                                                                                                    Like alkapal, I've never personally heard it used. Not by any family member or friend or by anyone I've met at gatherings, or any stranger on the street. It probably does have to do with location. I live on the MS coast and frequently visit NOLA and Mobile, and other places in Louisiana and Alabama. We have dear friends in SC and the Florida panhandle (which I do think of as southern). We have dear friends in Georgia. These are the southern places that we frequent. Location?

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                                                                                              2. re: alkapal
                                                                                                h
                                                                                                hazelhurst Jun 26, 2009 07:30 PM

                                                                                                On review of this post, I must remark that your comment (supra) plays a sneaky game that proves the mercurial quality of "grits" insofar as verb/noun languability is available [Posters with no Goddamn sense of humor--and especially pedants with goddamn dictionaries are UN-ivited to this fight] It don't make no difference about "grits is" versus "grits are" being grammatical. No laws of them fancy folk apply. Grits _is_. You can muck with it after that, but grits is grits.

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                                                                                                1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                                  c oliver Jul 4, 2009 04:39 AM

                                                                                                  Grits ARE grits. (signed Native Southerner)

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                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                    h
                                                                                                    hazelhurst Jul 4, 2009 10:24 AM

                                                                                                    Ditto as Native Southerner...this distiction seems not to apply.

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                                                                                              3. d
                                                                                                danieljdwyer Jun 25, 2009 04:50 AM

                                                                                                Grits is singular. It is a mass noun, like rice.
                                                                                                There's also no such thing as "a grit". Grit is a mass noun, not the singulative of grits. Grit is like sand. You can't say, "There is a sand in my clam." You can say, "There is a grain of sand in my clam." You can also say, "There is grit in my clam." Or, "There is a piece of grit in my clam."
                                                                                                If you want to refer to an individual member of the grits mass, you can call it a "grain of grits".

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                                                                                                1. re: danieljdwyer
                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                  smartie Jun 25, 2009 05:02 AM

                                                                                                  hmm, your hair is nice today because hair is a collective noun too so we don't say hairs.

                                                                                                  back to grits, I think I would say grits is good, so is pasta, it's the s on the end of grits which is confusing us and making us think it's a plural but it's not.

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                                                                                                2. Scargod Jun 24, 2009 08:25 PM

                                                                                                  Corn. A kernel or the cob? Corn on the cob are good?? Corns on the cob is good?
                                                                                                  Obviously corn is good and grits is too. How many ways do I have to splain it?
                                                                                                  Sal... where's that bottle?

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                                                                                                  1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                    Striver Jun 25, 2009 03:09 AM

                                                                                                    Corn on the cob IS good; corns on the foot ARE not good?

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                                                                                                    1. re: Striver
                                                                                                      alkapal Jun 25, 2009 04:16 AM

                                                                                                      corn kernels are good.

                                                                                                      now i'm gonna throw a wrench into the debate: common nouns
                                                                                                      http://books.google.com/books?id=lwsB...

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                                                                                                  2. h
                                                                                                    hazelhurst Jun 24, 2009 05:53 PM

                                                                                                    I shal join the fray when I can plug in--jst now the bat'ry is low

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                                                                                                    1. d
                                                                                                      DeppityDawg Jun 24, 2009 04:07 PM

                                                                                                      This is hardly a "new debate"! For example, from January, 1977:

                                                                                                      http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1347&dat=19770114&id=eeESAAAAIBAJ&sjid=wPoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6107,3059424

                                                                                                      http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=...

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                                                                                                      1. re: DeppityDawg
                                                                                                        h
                                                                                                        hazelhurst Jun 24, 2009 09:56 PM

                                                                                                        Indeed, this debate runs back a long way...well, it's hardly a debate but leave that for the nonce. Trouble is, people are trying to apply "grit" as an item, a particle, and form a conclusion; just plain wrong in this case. Grits is singular, in both senses of the word. "Grits is good stuff" is honest..no one is claiming it is school-book proper...that stuff is for fuddy-duddies who worry that they might be caught in "which" and "that" or who fear boiled peanuts will invade the neighborhood . "Grit's ARE good" is high falutin' show-off-I-went-to-school. It's akin to saying "crayfish."(Maybe that is too strong but you should see the point) Perhaps one can have an understood term in there---anyone who can diagram a sentence remembers the invisible subject. A possible explanation would be " This is [a] good [mess of] grits." In this case, grits takes the singular because of the unstated, but known, collective term "mess" [this is true of greens too..a good mess o' greens. It is a simple to step to "Grits is good." Remember EB White writing about his days on the police beat? He reported that a man was called to the morgue to identify a body that was thought to be his missing wife's. The husband saw it and said "My God! It's her!" White argued that this was right and he was correct. "It's she" is nonsense in this case.

                                                                                                        To compound the problem, we have such things as cheese grits. It is fine to say "these are good cheese grits." It sounds OK. Or, better yet, "These are good garlic cheese grits." But I can live with "This is good garlic cheese grits." s'okay by me. How about Cheese grits souffle (see "Cross Creek Cookery") Well, IT is a souffle so the singular is fine, even for the pesky school mar'ms trying to teach book learnin'.

                                                                                                        As noted above, the UNC book dates from the 1950's and I have a copy, with my mother's editing pencil underlining the "is" in the grits reference. She maintained grits is singular and since she had edited one more Pulitzer Prize winning book than have I, well, how can I argue..at least with my own mother?
                                                                                                        (She had a lot of fun fighting over how to render "pot liquor" in print. As I just spelled it, she thought it not only wrong and risible but , also, insulting to the eye.)

                                                                                                        So grits is singluar but the word is malleable. Trying to apply them laws what somone thought up jist ain't right on this and I ain't lettin' 'em git away with it. Go 'head..stick yore pinkies in th'air when drinkin' th'iced tea.

                                                                                                        Now we can move on to red eye gravy and the necessary consistency of grits (milk or just water?) Gourmet Magazine--which should GD well have known better--published a recipe for red-eye years ago that said coffee was "optional". I echo some posters' laments herein that some Yankee was loose in the place. (Can't blame the fellow---what would he (OK or she--I'll argue the indefinite pronoun until all opponents quit the field)know about coffee anyway)

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                                                                                                        1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                                          paulj Jul 5, 2009 09:21 AM

                                                                                                          To advance the red-eye gravy debate, look at NY-Korean "David Chang's Panko-Breaded Pork Chops with Masa Cakes and Redeye Gravy", on episode 2 of Bittman's 'best recipes of the world'
                                                                                                          http://www.randomhouse.com/broadway/b...
                                                                                                          "To make the gravy, combine 2 of the barely poached eggs, instant coffee grounds, sherry vinegar, and soy sauce in a small nonreactive bowl. Use an immersion blender to beat the ingredients until smooth, no more than 2 minutes. (You may also use a regular blender.)"
                                                                                                          Which Bittman summarizes as mayo spiked with instant.

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                                                                                                          1. re: paulj
                                                                                                            h
                                                                                                            hazelhurst Jul 5, 2009 10:02 AM

                                                                                                            Whatinhell is that?

                                                                                                            No jury would acquit.

                                                                                                            I'm sure it is fine for whatever it is, but it aint redeye gravy. ("instant coffee?" The horror!)

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                                                                                                            1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                                              m
                                                                                                              MakingSense Jul 5, 2009 12:22 PM

                                                                                                              The defense should have gone for an insanity plea.
                                                                                                              Diversity is OK, but that's simply confusion.

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                                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                                                h
                                                                                                                hazelhurst Jul 5, 2009 01:21 PM

                                                                                                                An interesting and sagacious observation..would Insanity have worked? Well, there certainly were no efforts to cover the crime..hell, it was publicized. I'd still like to see 'em locked up, though...St Elizabeth's in DC maybe. But no, the severity of the offense calls for stern measures...reckless endangerment or even wilful negligence certanly apply....But your point is excellent.

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                                                                                                                1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                  MakingSense Jul 5, 2009 01:30 PM

                                                                                                                  Can we indict Bittman for conspiracy?
                                                                                                                  He did call it one of "the best recipes of the world."

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                                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                                                    h
                                                                                                                    hazelhurst Jul 5, 2009 01:38 PM

                                                                                                                    Good idea..and, because I believe it can be proven to be an "pattern of conspiracy" let's go for RICO and stop this crud right now! Not that we would Forum Shop, but where shall we bring the charges?

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                                                                                                                    1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                                                      alkapal Jul 5, 2009 04:54 PM

                                                                                                                      RI-CO!
                                                                                                                      RI-CO!
                                                                                                                      RI-CO!

                                                                                                                      bring the case in any jurisdiction with lots of ticked-off unemployed people with no incentive to duck jury duty. easy pickin's. ;-)).

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                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal
                                                                                                                        h
                                                                                                                        hazelhurst Jul 5, 2009 05:25 PM

                                                                                                                        Agreed....BUT, let's not bring it in, say, Iowa...nothing agin' Iowa...but lets drop it in the Middle District of Tennessee or maybe Eastern Kentucky..we want folk who understand red-eye and will take proper umbrage at th'affront. Just in case (not that we need worry) we can bring a civil suit and I think the threshold for US involvement is met.

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                                                                                                              2. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                                                paulj Jul 8, 2009 09:54 AM

                                                                                                                Is the use of 'instant' in redeye gravy that bad? I can understand objecting to the mayo base, and use of soy sauce. Redeye gravy is basically the ham pan, deglazed with coffee, right?

                                                                                                                It would be travisty to do that to quality drip or press coffee. Cooking drives off all the aromatics, etc. I can imagine a cook in the depths of some Appalacian valley using good, home smoked ham, and grits ground from the right corn, but the coffee was, more than likely, 'cowboy coffee', grounds boiled for twenty minutes, and sitting on the back of the stove overnight.

                                                                                                                Coffee isn't commonly added to savory dishes, but there are a variety of desserts that use it. I suspect most of those recipes call for either instant or espresso. Regular brewed coffee has too low of a flavor to water ratio for most cooking purposes.

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                                                                                                                1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                  Davwud Jul 8, 2009 12:56 PM

                                                                                                                  I would never use instant coffee for anything other than a bit of mocha flavour in something.

                                                                                                                  As for REG, it's a bit more than deglazing the pan with coffee. I simmer the ham in the coffee for a bit along with a bit of onion.

                                                                                                                  DT

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                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj
                                                                                                                    h
                                                                                                                    hazelhurst Jul 8, 2009 01:34 PM

                                                                                                                    The origins are probably from coffees that would win no prizes but I always make reeye gravy with drip coffee...but you don;t want to overpower everything. Pan mumblings to boost it along helps. You sure don;t want coffee you can see through, though. It is tough to make in Louisiana because you have to import the ham and then it becomes a marathon of breakfasts with redeye gravy and some lunch slices and then the bone for split pea soup--this is always better in the winter.

                                                                                                                    I have a friend who says that instant coffee is good for some Russian bread she makes..she thinks it acts in place of the sawdust that she had in her Russian days in the '80's.

                                                                                                                    Oddly, speaking of Russia, I have an old Stroganoff recipe that uses about a cup of coffee (again, drip) to a batch serving eight. Works great.

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                                                                                                                2. re: paulj
                                                                                                                  Scargod Jul 5, 2009 02:01 PM

                                                                                                                  It might be good tasting but it is apples to oranges! Fermented soy bean essence versus pork juice reduction. That's just the beginning: How many pig farmers (or even country cafes), have sherry?
                                                                                                                  I can't believe you brought bean juice into this fray just because someone called it redeye gravy.

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                                                                                                                  1. re: Scargod
                                                                                                                    h
                                                                                                                    hazelhurst Jul 5, 2009 02:04 PM

                                                                                                                    I suspect a firecracker thrown under the chair ferthehelluvit..and why not?

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                                                                                                                    1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                                                      paulj Jul 5, 2009 06:46 PM

                                                                                                                      Genuine Chinese made firecracker!

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                                                                                                            2. JoanN Jun 24, 2009 03:08 PM

                                                                                                              According to Jean Anderson in "A Love Affair with Southern Cooking," grits, from the word "grist," is singular.

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                                                                                                                lgss Jun 24, 2009 02:39 PM

                                                                                                                In answer to the question "How are the grits?" Would making sense say "they" or "it"? If "they" it's plural and hence "are", if "it" then singular and "is". Polenta is good, I've never had grits.

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                                                                                                                1. re: lgss
                                                                                                                  BobB Jun 24, 2009 02:43 PM

                                                                                                                  Singular polento? ;-)

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                                                                                                                  1. re: BobB
                                                                                                                    p
                                                                                                                    planetjess Jun 24, 2009 02:51 PM

                                                                                                                    Pretty sure it would be plural polentae. :)

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                                                                                                                    1. re: planetjess
                                                                                                                      Veggo Jun 24, 2009 03:02 PM

                                                                                                                      I had a side dish of polentae
                                                                                                                      with my asian chicken stir fry
                                                                                                                      the lemon grass flavor
                                                                                                                      made it a dish to savor
                                                                                                                      am I on the wrong post? my oh my

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                                                                                                                      1. re: planetjess
                                                                                                                        chowser Jun 25, 2009 01:30 PM

                                                                                                                        polente. I've never heard anyone say they're serving various types of polente, though.

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                                                                                                                  2. w
                                                                                                                    wayne keyser Jun 24, 2009 01:52 PM

                                                                                                                    It may be plural (I've never seen an individual grit), but if you insist on saying "grits are good" you must be from above the Mason-Dixon Line. Or else a carpetbagger.

                                                                                                                    The test: the rest of the sentence. Nawthuner: "I've found that grits are quite good, really, once you get used to them." Southruner: "These grits is sure good, y'all!

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                                                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                                                      Sal Vanilla Jun 24, 2009 01:19 PM

                                                                                                                      Grits be good.

                                                                                                                      Now pass the bourbon my way.

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                                                                                                                      1. BobB Jun 24, 2009 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                        "Grits are" certainly sounds better, and that alone could settle the argument. But when I start to think about it (a dangerous thing, as mpjmph points out), I find that it may not be so simple. Take the other meaning of grit, for example, that of small abrasive particles. It is inherently plural ("There's grit in my grits," for example, implies many particles, not just one). You can't have "a grit," you'd have to say something like "a particle of grit." Yet we always use a singular verb, because it is in fact what we call a collective noun, like rice. You can have a grain of rice, some rice, a lot of rice, or all the rice in the world, and it's always, "My rice is better when cooked in butter."

                                                                                                                        But I digress. Getting back to grits, consider the sentence, "Grits are a good thing." It sounds right, yet "are a" breaks the rules of grammar. It should be either "Grits are good things" or "Grits is a good thing," yet neither sounds as "right" as the first version.

                                                                                                                        My conclusion: grits must have been introduced to us by aliens, since they obviously do not conform to the known rules of human language (or at least English).

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                                                                                                                        1. re: BobB
                                                                                                                          Caralien Jun 24, 2009 10:53 AM

                                                                                                                          English doesn't follow the rules of the English language, and the most populous English speaking countries were populated by aliens who begat non-aliens.

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                                                                                                                          1. re: BobB
                                                                                                                            d
                                                                                                                            danieljdwyer Jun 25, 2009 04:58 AM

                                                                                                                            "Are a" is not necessarily a grammatically incorrect construction. For example, "These dishes of grits are a great meal."

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                                                                                                                            1. re: danieljdwyer
                                                                                                                              BobB Jun 25, 2009 01:38 PM

                                                                                                                              But in this context meal is a collective noun, whereas thing is not.

                                                                                                                              - Bob "nits picked while U wait" B

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                                                                                                                          2. Caralien Jun 24, 2009 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                            "Please clean the grit from your fingernails prior to sitting at the table."
                                                                                                                            "What are you making?"
                                                                                                                            "Shrimp and grits."
                                                                                                                            "Mmm...grits are good!"

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                                                                                                                            1. re: Caralien
                                                                                                                              a
                                                                                                                              akq Jun 24, 2009 03:02 PM

                                                                                                                              Would you say "shrimp and grits are good" or "shrimp and grits is good"?

                                                                                                                              I would probably say "shrimp and grits IS good" if talking about the dish rather than shrimp and grits separately, but before this thread I'd also probably say "grits are good". Hmmm...

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                                                                                                                              1. re: akq
                                                                                                                                Caralien Jun 24, 2009 03:25 PM

                                                                                                                                I wouldn't say
                                                                                                                                "meat and potatoes IS good"
                                                                                                                                but
                                                                                                                                "shrimp and rice are good"
                                                                                                                                hence
                                                                                                                                "shrimp and grits are good" vs "the Southern dish 'shrimp and grits' is good"
                                                                                                                                but also
                                                                                                                                "a pound of shrimp is good" vs "how many shrimp are on the skewer"
                                                                                                                                "a bowl of rice is good" vs "bowls of rice are good"
                                                                                                                                "deer is good" vs "the pesky deer are bad because they ate all of my baby lettuce"
                                                                                                                                "fish is good" but "different fish species are bad for eating because they're endangered"

                                                                                                                                Grits are good, but cleaning grit from anything is a pain. Getting the wrong sandpaper grit is bad.

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                                                                                                                            2. Striver Jun 24, 2009 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                              If you're eating grits, and a single little gritty morsel escapes to the floor, you could properly say "I dropped a grit - does anyone see a grit on the floor? Hey, that IS my grit, right next to your left foot - quick - don't let the hound get it! "

                                                                                                                              But if you're eating a heap of them, ideally with butter, salt, pepper, and maybe some grated cheddar in the mix, you're eating grits and you're eating all of them, because grits ARE so good.

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                                                                                                                              1. re: Striver
                                                                                                                                bayoucook Jun 24, 2009 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                                Yes. We've actually said something like "you have a grit stuck to your lip". Like you said: A grit, many grits all together.

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                                                                                                                              2. m
                                                                                                                                mpjmph Jun 24, 2009 09:31 AM

                                                                                                                                The Southern Cookbook was written in 1951... so grits was way back then :) And based on a quick read of the grits passages, it looks like the author is referring to a dish of grits as a singular thing even if the grits themselves are plural.

                                                                                                                                Personally, if speaking and not thinking about it then the word "grits" is plural. If thinking about it, well I'd rather not think about it to much, it gets in the way of eating.

                                                                                                                                And for the record, my beloved UNC caps out of state enrollment at 18%. With 82% instate students, we're definitely Southern.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: mpjmph
                                                                                                                                  alkapal Jun 24, 2009 09:39 AM

                                                                                                                                  mpjmph, i suspected there was some issue with a "dish" vs. the stuff *in* the dish.

                                                                                                                                  as to u.n.c., i'm talking about yankee faculty, not students. and i know yankees were moving to the southern climes well before 1951. ;-).

                                                                                                                                  in fact, when he met my mom, my dad was a yankee whose parents had moved to florida from illinois. they married in 1940!

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                                                                                                                                2. Veggo Jun 24, 2009 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                  The only "singular" grit was the movie with John Wayne and Kim Darby. True.
                                                                                                                                  And there is a little-known rule that allows you to say "grits is good" if you part your teeth in the middle.

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                                                                                                                                  1. s
                                                                                                                                    s8ist Jun 24, 2009 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                    Southern linguists contend that "grits" is a singular noun only if "uncle" and "daddy" are synonyms.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
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                                                                                                                                    1. re: s8ist
                                                                                                                                      g
                                                                                                                                      gordeaux Jun 24, 2009 09:06 AM

                                                                                                                                      LOL.
                                                                                                                                      Awesome.

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                                                                                                                                    2. bayoucook Jun 24, 2009 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                                      Good one, alkapal! As a Girl Raised In The South - it's plural, dammit. Some things don't have to be proper. Like potlikker. It is what it is!

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                                                                                                                                      1. shaogo Jun 24, 2009 08:11 AM

                                                                                                                                        Grits are plural. However, there's no singular.

                                                                                                                                        Grits are good, in fact, delicious.

                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
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                                                                                                                                        1. re: shaogo
                                                                                                                                          alkapal Jun 24, 2009 08:22 AM

                                                                                                                                          ding ding ding! round one over. grits "ARE" good.

                                                                                                                                          (excellent work on that, shaogo!).

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: shaogo
                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit Jun 24, 2009 10:45 AM

                                                                                                                                            Same with Oats. There is no "oat". So like grits, oats ARE good.

                                                                                                                                            But this thread also reminded me of that scene in "My Cousin Vinny":

                                                                                                                                            Vinny Gambini: [Vinny and Lisa receive their breakfast orders, Vinny looks at his skeptically] Whats this over here?

                                                                                                                                            Grits Cook: You never heard of grits?

                                                                                                                                            Vinny Gambini: Sure I've heard of grits. I just never actually *seen* a grit before.

                                                                                                                                            Vinny might there there's a singular grit, but then again, this *was* Vinny. ;-)

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                              p
                                                                                                                                              pengcast Jun 24, 2009 02:13 PM

                                                                                                                                              Actually there is an oat and it is both a noun or an adjective -- check your OED (oxford english dictionary). Think oat cake or oat flour.

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: pengcast
                                                                                                                                                l
                                                                                                                                                lgss Jun 24, 2009 02:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                Or oat groat. Personally, I don't think oats are good, yuck!

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                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                Sooeygun Jun 24, 2009 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                I have to disagree with 'there is no "oat"'. Oat is definitely a word, it's just more commonly plural.

                                                                                                                                                But what's the origin of the food name 'grits'. Why's it called that? Anyone know?

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                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                  a
                                                                                                                                                  amyvc Jun 26, 2009 09:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I instantly thought of the line from my cousin Vinny in the courtroom, when the "eye witness" mentioned that he had put some grits on to cook and it only took 5 minutes (after indicating that "no self-respecting southerner uses instant grits"). Vinny "Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than anywhere else on the face of the earth? "

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