Kiss These Grits

Firstly, follow the Anson Mills recipe for cooking Pencil Cob Grits (it's on the bottom of the package); it soaks the meal overnight so you avoid any worry about it clumping when pot meets heat. Ka-lumping is grits greatest gripe.

Most folk will butter their grits; some will cheese 'em. Either way — or a combo — is delicious and merit no controversy or complaint. But you also could treat grits the way the Italians and other Mediterraneans do their polenta (just the Latin for "grits," people) and top the grits with: greens such as chard, broccoli rabe, spinach, or collard, sautéed with olive oil, garlic slivers and red pepper flakes; a warm ratatouille or caponata; a mushroom ragoût; a couple of soft-cooked, runny-yolky eggs; sausage and peppers; a coarse meat ragù; or some sort of long-cooked pulled pork preparation.

You might also consider taking the cooked grits, or their leftovers, pouring them into a buttered sheet pan, pressing down and evening the top so it is flat, and then cooling it until it firms up and can be cut into triangles or squares, then further cooked. Fry or sauté the shapes in clarified butter until browned and crisped on both sides and serve, topped with a dollop of Gorgonzola dolce, Greek yogurt or — what the hey — USA-all-the-way Vermont maple syrup.