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Jun 24, 2009 08:07 AM

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


since making sense did not want to clutter up a relatively non-contentious thread on southern cooking , 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).

i know deep down in my heart that "grits ARE good" -- and that "grits" is not a "singular" noun.

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.).

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

    Grits are good, in fact, delicious.

    6 Replies
    1. re: shaogo

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

      (excellent work on that, shaogo!).

      1. re: shaogo

        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. ;-)

        1. re: LindaWhit

          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.

          1. re: pengcast

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

          2. re: LindaWhit

            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?

            1. re: LindaWhit

              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? "

          3. 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!

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

              1 Reply
              1. 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.

                1. 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.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mpjmph

                    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!