What is a Grit?

While southerners are well acquainted with the glory of grits, people in other parts of the country may wonder what the heck it is. Just what is a grit anyway?
Merriam Webster offers two definitions for the word – one a noun and the other a verb.
Noun grit is sand or gravel and means any material made up of sand or gravel. There is Grit TV which describes itself as Television with Backbone – think lots of John Wayne movies. Or pick up a copy of the magazine called Grit and get a dose of Rural American Know-How. Grit the noun also means firmness of mind and spirit and in Canada a grit is a liberal politician. Verb grit can refer to a grating sound and is the action that causes a person to grind or grate their teeth. Grit the verb also refers to the act of covering or spreading the aforementioned sand or gravel.
But these definitions and examples are not the grit we are talking about. Simply add an “s” and the mysterious grit becomes the delicious grits. And our grits are much more enjoyable than any of the above.
A southern staple for many years, grits were first introduced by the Muscogee indigenous peoples who pounded or ground dried corn with stones and cooled it into a porridge or soup. Early southern settlers loved grits, making it a favorite in the southern US. In fact, the area between Texas and Washington DC is known as the Grits Belt.
Southerners for the last 200 years have enjoyed grits for breakfast. Grits pair beautifully with eggs, bacon, toast, and a cup of coffee. All a properly prepared bowl of grits needs is butter and salt. Some people even put sugar on it, but most southerners believe this is blasphemy!
Grits are a great compliment to many southern recipes. Shrimp and Grits are popular, but grits can also be eaten with varieties of delicious seafood like crab, lobster, crawfish, and oysters. Grits can be shaped into patties and fried for a delicious appetizer. Add cheese, bacon, green onion, or sausage to the pot while cooking grits for a spicy dish.
If you’ve never tried grits you are missing something delectable. So use your grit and try a bowl of grits. You can even offer grits in Canada to a grit. They will be forever in your debt.
1 reply
  1. Henry Blackburn
    Henry Blackburn says:

    Was raised on grits. Have my own recipe called “Papa’s Baked Yellow Grits.”

    Would like to have your guide to plant-based, baked grits dishes.

    Mine depends too much on cheese and bacon bits!


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