Friday, May 06, 2011

Don't Ask- Don't Tell.

<--- Big Southern Breakfast(no pancakes)

<---Full English Breakfast

Well, so here we are, a few weeks into my new life here in the UK.
Things are way different here..... like food... and cooking styles.....but in reality- we're not SO different.

So I've been trying to find things that are the same as homes- and it's been difficult. Some things they HAVE here, but under a totally different name or Brand. Some are the same. Like Oreos...It seems OREOs are universal.
Other things not so much. We finally found Black-eye peas here in the local Tesco.

Now, one thing I HAVE learned is to not share my recipes with certain people. There are a couple of people who have specifically asked for them- and I gladly gave them what they asked for. But other people, who shall remain nameless, ask what is in a recipe and then turn their nose up at it before they even TRY it. I know some of our southern foods sound nasty when you hear the ingredients,but for God's sake- how about TRYING then before passing judgment?

Like Biscuits.....In the South, bisucuits are made with Flour, milk and shortening. That's it. Just baked in a pan and out of that seeming nastiness comes a lovely bread that's light and fluffy and filling and just plain decadent. Eat them plain, or cut open with butter, or with gravy (I'll get to THAT particular southern food in a minute) or ham or bacon or steak or chicken inside them. Or a pork chop even. YUM!!! Eat them with anything you would eat regular loaf bread with. And they're twice as good as plain loaf bread.

Now let's get to the Gravy... In the south we have three types gravy. One the Brits recognize is meat or brown gravy made with the meat drippings and juice from whatever meat they happen to be serving that night. The next on the list is Saw-Mill gravy. Made with the same ingredients as biscuits but in different quantities, with salt and pepper added in. Thick, but pourable, white or light cream colored, and perfect over potatoes, or biscuits, or grits(I'll get to those in a minute). The third kind is Red-Eye Gravy and I believe it's absolutely and totally a southern food. Before I describe what it is- let me just clarify something....

The Brits "Bacon" is what we call thin sliced country ham. What we call bacon is what they call "streaky bacon". What we call streaky bacon is what they call "Belly pork". Now that that's all clear and you're totally confused...

Our Red eye gravy is made by frying up some Bacon(country ham) and after it's browned up- remove it from the pan and leave the drippin's-(bacon/ham doesn't even leave any "grease" so to speak)- and then add a tiny shake of salt and a generous sprinkle of black pepper and then pour a cup of strong black coffee to it all and heat it up. That's it. Goes GREAT over grits or potatoes , or biscuits. A spoonful or so at a time til you decide if you like it or not. Which I almost gar-un-tee you will. My hubby doesn't. Which makes me sad- but different strokes and all that jazz.

The Wikipedia definition of grits....

Grits is a food that is common in the Southern United States, mainly used in breakfast. It consists of coarsely ground corn (when grits is made from hominy, it is referred to as hominy grits).

Grits is similar to other thick maize-based porridges from around the world, such as polenta. It also resembles farina, a thinner porridge.(But not so much-my observation.)

Grits are usually prepared by adding one part grits to two-to-three parts boiling water and seasoned with salt and butter. They are usually cooked for 15 - 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the grits become a porridge-like consistency. They expand as they are cooked and need to be stirred several times to prevent sticking and forming lumps. They may be served with grated cheese or topped with sausage or country ham "red-eye gravy". Those closer to the Mason-Dixon line (also known as borderline Yankee territory)may prefer to season grits with sugar instead of salt. (No southerner would be caught dead doing that-My observation.)

Grits can also be fried in a pan or molded to create a firm block. The resulting block can be cut with a knife or wire, and the slices are fried in a fat such as vegetable oil, butter, or bacon grease. (Alto I've NEVER in my LIFE seen anyone actually DO this...Again, this must be a Yankee Territory thing ..or possibly Southern Folklore created by some poor Yankee who didn't know what GRITS was and put sugar in it because they were too embarrassed to ask. Bless Their Hearts.)

And time and time again I've seen wrinkled noses about these very foods.

The closest I've come to any of that is saying "Excuse me- did I hear that right??/ ___ & ___ combined? That's an unusual combination- but I'll try it next time!!!" I'll try just about anything once. (The combination in question was an Onion and cheese butty(sandwich). And I wasn't hungry at the time was the reason I didn't try it THEN.) Two words for you in reference to try it then Judge-.........Black Pudding. I LOVE it but if you know what it is before you try it- you probably wouldn't try it at ALL.

Don't Ask- Don't Tell...sounds like a PLAN to me.


Odie Langley said...

Hey Sunny, A lot of things I grew up loving is disappearing from the scene like red eye gravy. Good luck on re-creating SC dishes.

Seacat said...

Not to nit pick or anything.......but...
I love my grits sometimes with salt, pepper and butter, sometimes with red eye gravy, sometimes without. I, being from far south of the mason-dixon line, also sometimes like it with butter and grape jelly mixed in (don't you DARE turn up your nose at this!!), altho I've never eaten them with sugar. Also, when I was young and my dad would make grits, he would tak any leftover and pack them into a waxed cup (dixie cup) and refrigerate the leftovers. The next morning, he would peel the cup off, then slice into small "pancakes" and fry in butter til the were nice and browned on the outside. They were delishious! See, not just a close to the mason dixon line thing! ....Uh-huh, and we even grew up in the same town!! LOL...

Lavada said...

Well, dang!! i knew about the grape jelly thing- i've seen you do that at work- but i never knew about the fried grits. Glad you told me about that GF!! :-)

Kimmiwamba said...

For the record.....the grits and jelly combo was a Cindy/Dad thing. I never liked that particular mixture. However, grits with red-eye or grits with salt, pepper & butter?? YUM!!!! I don't remember the fried grits thing, but sounds tasty to me!!
In the meantime, keep working on 'em Sunny!!! You can only resist Southern food for so long before common sense kicks in!! ~giggling~