Sunday, July 10, 2011

Where I come from ...

My family is from South Carolina.  I was born there.  My parents were born there.  Their parents were born there.  And theirs, and theirs, and theirs.  For generations my family has lived in South Carolina.  I’d say they’d always been there except I’m fairly certain that, despite how perfect South Carolina is, the Garden of Eden wasn’t there.  There are a few things that all South Carolinians are born to love, raised on, and survive on.  Sweet tea, real peaches (don’t let those yahoos in Georgia tell you they’re the ones with the best peaches), good manners and grits.  Good ol’ white hominy grits.  Grits for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  They go with everything.  Sausage, shrimp, steak, ham, eggs … you name it, grits makes it great.  And Lord have mercy, add cheese to them and they are (is it possible?) even better. 

Now, Clark Kent’s family hasn’t been in the United States as long. His great grandparents on both sides came here from Europe.  They came to Ohio.  They don’t eat a lot of grits.  Oatmeal.  Warm cooked oats with cinnamon and sugar, with raisins, made with water, made with milk, made however you want.  They eat oatmeal.  Clark Kent isn’t a big fan of grits, and I’m no fan of oatmeal (read here can’t stand the stuff and its gross and mushy yuckiness).  So we raise our children that both are just the best stuff on the planet.  My kids, though, have good genes.  They have Southern running through them.  They don’t like oatmeal.  Or cream of wheat (which in my opinion is some sort of oatmeal/grits hybrid mess up thing that Virginia created).  I’m proud.  They love grits.  Cheese grits.  Good ol’ southern kids is what they are.  Raised in the south, eating like God’s people should eat. Seriously.  I’m fairly certain that manna was like Hebrew grits.  Just sayin’. 

So in this cultural melting pot, where Clark Kent and I come from two different styles of breakfast, we’ve discovered that oatmeal and grits can live in the same house.  He even eats grits, so long as they aren’t “quick” or “instant”.  I won’t eat oatmeal.  That’s yankee food and I don’t want it. Probably the truth is my family didn’t eat oatmeal because it was more expensive than grits.  Grits were cheap, and still are.  My family for generations were cotton farmers.  Not the big fancy plantation owners, no sir.  The poor share croppers who worked their whole lives for nothing.  Then they were in the cotton mills.  Worked long hours for little pay and a house on the Mill Hill.  The Great Depression didn’t affect them.  They wouldn’t have noticed except the rationing of food thanks to the “Great War”.  They had grits instead of rice.  Shrimp and Grits?  Poor mans meal, really.  Not in those fancy chain restaurants, of course.  But out in the boondocks, where you catch the shrimp yourself.  You can have very little meat and serve it with grits, and it’s filling.  It’s a poor man’s food to be sure.  But it’s so South Carolina.  The state still recovering, 150 years later, from a war that was its idea.  So I’ll take my grits, the best peaches anywhere in this country, and my sweet tea.  Because grits is who I am.  I’m not oatmeal fancy.  Thankfully, Clark Kent doesn’t mind that one bit. 

1 comment:

  1. Grits and white rice in 50 lb bags ... that's what you find in SC grocery stores!

    But we had oatmeal and cream of wheat growing up too!