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Grits: A Cultural and Culinary Journey Through the South

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Grits is a fascinating cultural history and examination of the current role of grits in Southern cuisine. For food writer Erin Byers Murray, grits had always been one of those basic, bland Southern table necessities--something to stick to your ribs or dollop the butter and salt onto. But after hearing a famous chef wax poetic about the terroir of grits, her whole view chang Grits is a fascinating cultural history and examination of the current role of grits in Southern cuisine. For food writer Erin Byers Murray, grits had always been one of those basic, bland Southern table necessities--something to stick to your ribs or dollop the butter and salt onto. But after hearing a famous chef wax poetic about the terroir of grits, her whole view changed. Suddenly the boring side dish of her youth held importance, nuance, and flavor. She decided to do some digging to better understand the fascinating and evolving role of grits in Southern cuisine and culture as well as her own Southern identity. As more artisan grits producers gain attention in the food world, grits have become elevated and appreciated in new ways, nationally on both sides of the Mason Dixon Line, and by international master chefs. Murray takes the reader behind the scenes of grits cultivation, visiting local growers, millers, and cooks to better understand the South's interest in and obsession with grits. What she discovers, though, is that beyond the culinary significance of grits, the simple staple leads her to complicated and persisting issues of race, gender, and politics.


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Grits is a fascinating cultural history and examination of the current role of grits in Southern cuisine. For food writer Erin Byers Murray, grits had always been one of those basic, bland Southern table necessities--something to stick to your ribs or dollop the butter and salt onto. But after hearing a famous chef wax poetic about the terroir of grits, her whole view chang Grits is a fascinating cultural history and examination of the current role of grits in Southern cuisine. For food writer Erin Byers Murray, grits had always been one of those basic, bland Southern table necessities--something to stick to your ribs or dollop the butter and salt onto. But after hearing a famous chef wax poetic about the terroir of grits, her whole view changed. Suddenly the boring side dish of her youth held importance, nuance, and flavor. She decided to do some digging to better understand the fascinating and evolving role of grits in Southern cuisine and culture as well as her own Southern identity. As more artisan grits producers gain attention in the food world, grits have become elevated and appreciated in new ways, nationally on both sides of the Mason Dixon Line, and by international master chefs. Murray takes the reader behind the scenes of grits cultivation, visiting local growers, millers, and cooks to better understand the South's interest in and obsession with grits. What she discovers, though, is that beyond the culinary significance of grits, the simple staple leads her to complicated and persisting issues of race, gender, and politics.

40 review for Grits: A Cultural and Culinary Journey Through the South

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This was a really interesting look at grits as a cultural and culinary journey through the South. Murray looks into the history of grits and the variations in the past, she also explores grits through a racial lens, and through a female lens since historically women were the growers and cooks of grits (and most food), she also explores grits as a political tool, and finally highlighting he chefs, cooks, and eaters honoring grits across the South today. Each chapter includes a few recipes for gri This was a really interesting look at grits as a cultural and culinary journey through the South. Murray looks into the history of grits and the variations in the past, she also explores grits through a racial lens, and through a female lens since historically women were the growers and cooks of grits (and most food), she also explores grits as a political tool, and finally highlighting he chefs, cooks, and eaters honoring grits across the South today. Each chapter includes a few recipes for grits as well. Overall, it was a unique look at one of the South's staple foods from where grits started to how they are being used today. A quote I really liked: "Glenn Roberts, motivated originally by his interest in rediscovering and reintroducing flavor, quickly took on the political charge - since its start, his small (by comparison) production milling operation has steadily and quietly waged culinary aggression against Big Agriculture. Though it's not a message he touts loudly, the very existence of Anson Mills is a form of resistance. By reintroducing heirloom varieties into commercial production, he offers chefs and consumers a small-scale weapon: the option to step far outside the frustrations that come from supporting the ongoing cycle of damage Big Ag creates." (p. 143-4)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Viriam

    A well written and entertaining journey through the history, stories, recipes, and impact of grits on our culture. Not having grown up anywhere near the south (I lived in South America) the book was a great doorway into the unknown.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Todd

  4. 5 out of 5

    Janet

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jacquie

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julia Fine

  8. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  9. 5 out of 5

    TiedGame

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tracie Prater

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emma

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily Schmader

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris Barsanti

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marlin

  16. 4 out of 5

    KatieRose

  17. 4 out of 5

    John H

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey Robertson

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Cohen

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Ogden

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  24. 4 out of 5

    Molly Stella

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Carter

  26. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Storey

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  28. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Garrett King

  30. 4 out of 5

    Holly Deneve

  31. 5 out of 5

    Trecia

  32. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

  33. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  34. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

  35. 5 out of 5

    Teri

  36. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

  37. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  38. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

  39. 5 out of 5

    Anna Anna

  40. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

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