Get ready folks, it’s time to get our GRITS on.
Everyone reared in the South, knows about the breakfast pantry staple — grits. But have you ever tried rolling around in your breakfast cereal. No; well, now you can. St. George, SC, is about to hold their 33rd Annual World Grits Festival and crowds will come.
The weekend-long festival was born out of the knowledge that the town of St. George ate more grits per capita than any other place in the world. Bill Hunter, the manager of our local Piggly Wiggly grocery store in 1985, took this information to the store’s owners, John Walters and George Axon. After discussion, the idea of a town festival to celebrate this milestone and raise money for civic projects came to light in 1986. Walters served as the Chairman of the festival until 1988.
The word “grits” is derived from the Old English word “grytt,” the almost extinct term for bran, shaft or mill-dust. Stone-ground grits have a rich corn flavor and speckled appearance because the grits are ground from the entire corn kernel, including the germ. For a little American history on grits, take a culture trip to test your knowledge.
If eating grits is on your mind, then there are plenty of recipes you can try. Other than simple grits, eggs, cheese and bacon for breakfast, my favorite grits recipe is shrimp and grits. A long time hit in the Lowcountry, there are many ways to prepare this dish. I always loved the version served at Captain Kirk’s seafood restaurant in Santee (closed — try Captain’s Quarter’s, now). When I worked there, the owner and chef, Kirk, simmered his grits for a long time using heavy cream and chicken stock, adding more liquid as they cooked. They were so smooth and creamy. Not sure which version you should try, check out Terry Moore’s compilation of 34 Shrimp and Grits Recipes from Charleston’s Best Restaurants. It’s available for download here.
This year’s festivities include the annual 5K race, a kid’s fun fun, arts & crafts booths, a parade on Saturday, the festival store, grits grinding demonstrations, rolling in the grits contest, grits eating contest, a carnival, various bands and musical entertainment and many, many other events and contests throughout the three-day festival. For the full festival schedule and directions, visit the Official World Grits Festival website, then join us for a rolling-good time. My mom, The Knitting Lady, and Three Cats Crafts will be there, getting our grits on and catching up with friends.
Featured photos of past festivities courtesy of the Official World Grits Festival website.