Wednesday, March 24, 2004


In my old stomping grounds of Columbia, SC there is a grits revival brewing:
MANY of this country's most celebrated chefs have spent hours on the phone with a man in a derelict metal warehouse behind a carwash here. He teaches them how to cook grits.

Grits, particles of ground corn that cook into shiny, barely articulated little beads, holding forth in a stout pudding, have had legendary appeal in the South. But it is only in the last decade that they have been discovered by top chefs elsewhere. Grits cookery is not difficult, but these are not ordinary grits, and the chefs know it.

The man in the warehouse is Glenn Roberts, and his company, Anson Mills, has been the driving force in bringing old and nearly extinct species of heirloom corn back to health.

The effort is part of Mr. Roberts's grander mission: to restore the pedigree of antebellum low country cuisine.

Sounds like a noble cause, indeed.

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