By Larry Simoneaux
I once had an entertaining exchange of emails with a local resident on the subject of fried grits.
Warning: Vegetarians, vegans and others may wish to discontinue reading immediately as the following is likely to precipitate a severe, if not fatal, attack of “The Vapors.”
To explain: I like and I eat, in moderation, fried foods. I do this simply because such foods taste good and because moderation allows you to sample all of life’s more pleasant foods sans guilt.
Further, I just happen to like fried chicken, fried onions, fried eggplant, fried gizzards, fried fish, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, chicken fried steak, fried shrimp, fried oysters, and fried potatoes to name but a few — and God wouldn’t have given us frying pans had he not intended us to prepare such dishes.
In my pantheon of fried delights, fried grits (recipes available on the Internet) also holds a place of honor simply because it (wait for it) … tastes good. Really good.
Given the fact that I still owe my editor several hundred words and can’t end here, I’ll also mention several other of my (somewhat bizarre, according to my wife) beliefs and habits as regard to food in general. To wit:
•As once there was a cave dweller who looked at a round rock and thought “wheel,” there was also an individual who killed some four-legged beast and told everyone there’d be meat for dinner that night. He was also the first member of the human race who said, “You know, if we got a fire going, let it burn down to coals, hung that bad boy over it, and slathered it with some sauce, we could really have us a good barbecue.”
The rest is, as they say, history. Note: Others, of course, asked such questions as: “What’s fire?” “What’s a barbecue?” and “Can we have some beans and ‘slaw to go with that?” But that’s another column.
For breakfast, I believe there’s nothing better than a slab of last night’s lasagna taken directly from the refrigerator and eaten like a sandwich. My wife has seen me do this and regards it as (her words) “deviant behavior.” I maintain that she still — after 41 years of marriage to me — shows no true spirit of adventure in matters gastronomic.
Cherry pie reaches the absolute pinnacle of taste after the second day in the refrigerator. This is the approximate amount of time required for flavors to mix and everything to properly congeal. The same holds true for blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry pie. Apple pies need only one day, but require a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream to ensure proper edibility.
Tabasco is an essential nutrient required by the human body. In this, it’s much like sodium, potassium, iron, Ho-Hos, chocolate ice cream, and beer. It should be used liberally on almost any dish as it’s been shown to precipitate calories, unclog arteries, stimulate hair growth and prevent the heartbreak of psoriasis.
Biscuits and other things that come from cardboard tubes are — as the late Lewis Grizzard noted — an abomination and something that only someone from “marketing” could have dreamed up.
Hot dogs should never be topped with sauerkraut (see: melted cellophane soaked in used paint thinner). For those who willfully do this, one can only hope that the Lord will see fit to forgive them for such a transgression. Chili, onions, and grated cheese are far more appropriate toppings and mark you as a refined and civilized individual.
Someone once noted that opening the refrigerator at night and drinking milk directly from the carton while standing in our underwear is a fundamental right granted to males in compensation for our being forced to take showers amidst a forest of hanging lingerie. His name should be revered but, alas, has been lost to history.
Chili is to be made with beans. Chili without beans is nothing more than a watery slush lacking in caloric content and, thus, unfit for consumption. Further, I’ve been told that, in California, they put mushrooms in chili which helps explain why that state is in such dire circumstances just now.
For the mathematicians out there: “Pie are round. Cornbread are square.” Cajun cooking legend Justin Wilson discovered and published this truth decades ago.
There. I think that covers it. And, yes, do remember to put some Tabasco on those fried grits when you serve a batch. It’ll mark you as a culinary legend.
Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org