Superman. Batman. Wonder Woman. Glenn Roberts. Spiderman. Whoa . . .back up, Nellie; say who? Glenn Roberts? Never heard of him? You mean you haven’t read the Glenn Roberts comic books or seen the movie!? Just kidding, of course! Now naturally you would label the others in the list as superheroes. In my book, Glenn Roberts makes the others look like Krypotonite-ravaged weaklings. Glenn Roberts is a food historian and Southern Savior of heirloom grains. He founded Anson Mills, a Columbia, South Carolina-based purveyor of varieties of corn, rice, and other grains that were virtually extinct. His passion was to return Carolina Gold rice, grits, and flour to their nutrition-packed, flavor-filled glory days. (Can you hear Dixie playing in the background?) Finding it nearly impossible to source any of these grains, he traveled through rural backroads in an attempt to find farmers who may have seeds from these Antebellum A-listers. He found Carolina Gourdseed White corn in a bootlegger’s field. After successfully finding and growing other nearly extinct corn, Roberts gave the freshly milled grits to chefs in Charleston and Atlanta, and they were ecstatic. Roberts realized the grains would need to be properly milled in order to retain their flavor and nutrition, so he experimented with cold-milling. He sold all his worldly goods, lived out of his car, bought four granite stone mills and a warehouse, and Anson Mills was off and running.
Now, for those of you out there who have only ever eaten the kind of grits out of the little packet graced with the white-wigged, hat-bedecked man, you may ask, “What’s the big deal?” Let me assure you that you have never experienced the glorious goodness that is grits. Those pulverized-within-an-inch-of-their-lives flakes have no comparison to the intact whole goodness of heirloom, stone-ground grits. Why do you think the man on the packet has such a demure smile on his face? If he had just consumed a bowl of Anson Mills grits, that pale, plaintive pilgrim would be kickin’ up his heels with a Chesire cat beam on his face. It will take you more time to cook real grits, but they’re worth the wait and the stirring.
One of our favorite ways to eat grits is what I call a “Grits Bowl.” We cook a sizeable portion of stone-ground grits, divide them into bowls, and top them with cheese, cooked, crumbled sausage, scrambled eggs, green onions, and fresh tomatoes. Oh my goodness gracious . . .thank you, Glenn Roberts, thank you. By the way, Mr. Roberts, do you sell posters of you we could hang on the walls? I’ll need the bulk quantity; I’m thinkin’ wallpaper . . .
- 1 cup stone ground grits, soaked overnight*
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. black or white pepper
- 3 Tbsp. grass-fed butter
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 6 eggs, scrambled or however you like them
- 1 lb. breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped
- Combine water and grits. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Once grits are simmering, add salt, pepper, and butter. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking the grits, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes. The time will vary depending on the coarseness of the grits and whether or not you soaked them overnight. If you didn't soak them, plan on at least 40 minutes of cooking time. Cook until the grits are creamy. Adjust seasonings to taste. You may also add more water or a splash or cream if you like your grits more on the thin side.
- Ladle grits into individual serving bowls. Top each bowl with cheese, egg, sausage, scallions, and tomato.
Stone ground grits – ANSON MILLS – Anson Mills
Grass-Fed Butter – Turner’s Farm Fresh
Sausage – Keegan-Filion Farm
Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Turner’s Farm Fresh
Eggs – Keegan-Filion Farm
Scallions – Joseph Fields Farms
Tomato – Porter Tomato from our backyard