February 1, 2012
This time last year, there was chemo. There were long lists of scary side effects, orange bottles with big white pills, daily heparin flushes for the PICC line, and not insignificant amounts of fear, worry, nausea, and exhaustion.
There were also: text messages, phone calls, gift cards, prayers, sweet cards in the mail nearly every day, emails, King Ranch casserole, matzo ball soup, more love, care, and support than we knew it was possible for two people to receive, and these cheese grits.
If you’re not from the great American South, you may never have had cheese grits before, and that’s a crying shame. (Note for newbies: it’s always “grits,” never “grit,” no matter the quantity.) Even if you are quite familiar with cheese grits, this recipe is worth a try, because it quite simply yields the best damn cheese grits I have ever had.
My Georgia-born colleague Katie generously gifted me and Jill with a Tupperware full of these grits last February, and we, along with a few visitors, promptly devoured them in a few days. I know the term “comfort food” is overused, but let me tell you—comforting is still being able to eat delicious home cooked food but not having to cook it. Comfort is adding cheese grits to the very short list of things your spouse actually feels like eating after her first round of chemo.
So much can change in a year. Our friend Courtney, who surprised us last year with a sonogram picture on the morning we shared these cheese grits with her, now has a beautiful four-and-a-half month old baby boy. Friends have gotten married and engaged; friends have moved into and out of our lives. (And just think, this time last year there was no Pinterest!—how did we live?) Most importantly, Jill is blessedly well and thriving, and we are so deliriously HAPPY and grateful to have each day together, minus the cancer.
THE WORLD’S BEST CHEESE GRITS
Recipe from Southern Sideboards, which is the Junior League of Jackson, Mississippi’s cookbook, via Katie Ray.
If you are looking to indulge this weekend while watching a certain football game, look no further. These could not be easier to make and they will serve a generous portion for 6-8.
7 c water
2 c quick (not instant) grits
½ c milk
2 sticks butter, melted
12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated or cut into cubes
~1 tsp garlic powder
Dash of Tabasco
Salt boiling water, add grits. Cook until they’re done, around 7-8 min. Stir in butter, eggs, milk, and cheese. Stir in garlic and Tabasco. Pour into greased 9 x 13 Pyrex, and cook at 350 for roughly an hour. Cover with foil if they start browning too much on the top.
Serve hot/warm, and cool before refrigerating or freezing any leftovers.