The biggest trouble with grits is not being able to score a bowl of them. I was recently at a well-known hostelry and thought a steaming bowl of buttery grits would be a mighty fine addition to the scrambled eggs and bacon proferred. There was no hot pot of said corn ambrosia to partake of — it was a hotel, after all, not Mama’s kitchen table. All that was to be found was a two-tiered wire basket containing little packets of instant grits in the top tier and instant oatmeal in the bottom. At least they tried. Mentally singing the old commercial for Aunt Jemima’s pancakes without the syrup . . . the takeaway being that some grits was better than no grits at all . . . I poured a couple of packets into a bowl and, to follow the directions on the packet, looked around for a microwave. I am sure there had to be one, but for the life of me I couldn’t locate it. Pancake maker, check; cooler with milk and juice, check; coffee pots, check; microwave, nope. There was, however, a vacuum pot of hot water.
After some mumbled questioning as to the intellectual processes of the management of this hospitable establishment (i.e., what were they thinking!!), I added the hot water to the bowl of instant grits, and voila, instant watery corn gruel. This stuff was an absolute insult to the integrity of the eggs, so I dumped it in the trash and ate the eggs sans ambrosia and returned to my room. Whereupon, what did my curious little eye perceive? A microwave. A microwave I had noted upon settling into my room the night before and placing my dinner leftovers in the fridge right alongside it. While the further cooking would have most certainly improved my corn gruel — at least to the point of edibility — it would still not replace a properly cooked bowl of grits. The lesson learned here, I guess, is two-fold. The first is for the MacGyvers — don’t give up until you have explored all possibilities; if necessary invent a cooking device out of sunlight and Coke bottles. The second, more applicable to folks like me, is the same as for relationships — never settle for less than. If the grits are substandard, just eat the pancakes.