A few years ago, I met a woman in California who told me that once, when she found herself with a ridiculous surfeit of persimmon pulp, she and a lover filled an old bathtub with it and took what she described as "a highly sensuous double dip." I thought this might be the strangest food indulgence I'd ever heard-until I discovered the St. George, South Carolina, Rolling in the Grits Contest.
St. George calls itself the "Grits Capital of the World," and, as if serving grits with eggs, bacon, ham, and country-fried steak, topped with butter, catsup, peanut butter, or Cheez Whiz one weekend in April each year isn't enough to claim that title, locals revel-literally-in this singular, gritty competition.
About 400 pounds of instant grits are poured into a plastic swimming pool and soaked with water (really about the only good thing to do with instant grits). Each preweighed contestant gets ten seconds to hop into the grits, wearing a swim suit (knit is preferred for its excellent absorbency), and roll around, soaking up the atmosphere, as it were. When the contestants hop out, they are weighed again, and the one with the most grits adhering wins.
Butter Beans to Blackberries
Recipes from the Southern Garden
By Ronni Lundy
North Point Press
A division of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc.
Hardback, $27.50, May 1999
Reprinted with permission.
This page created July 1999
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