My mother has sung the praises of grits for as long as I can remember, but her song has fallen mostly on deaf ears.
She spent a lifetime making grits for one. Perhaps the greatest challenge for grits is its name. The word conjures visions of ballast spitting from beneath spinning pickup tires. Grits sounds much more like something you'd rather to remove from your mouth rather than fill with it.
And that's the kind of thing that will get between a kid and his fork.
But my mother grew up on a cotton farm in west Texas with four siblings. Having anything to eat was more a concern than whether what was available fit one's flavor profile. In fact, there is strong anecdotal evidence that anyone who made reference to a flavor profile was admonished and sentenced to boll-weevil duty.
And as it turns out, grits are pretty darn good, especially with a few things mixed in to pump the flavor.
As part of our continuing coverage of Made in Oklahoma Month, we offer this recipe from the MIO Coalition for Kicked-Up Grits casserole.
I'm sure my mother would love it, and I'm confident your family will agree.
1 cup quick-cooking grits or 1 cup instant grits
4 tablespoons Hiland butter, cut into pieces
8 ounces Velveeta cheese
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
3 eggs, lightly beaten