I am a latecomer to the grits eating scene. It always sounded dirty or like industrial waste, so I never sought them out. My mom, Aunt E and Grandma Price did not serve grits, so it just wasn’t part of my food past.
Even now, I don’t often order grits. For me, they have to be flavorful and smooth for me to want to eat them. And, sadly, most I run across are just bland.
Then enters Miss Mary at Monmouth Historic Inn in Natchez. Her grits are served daily for breakfast, which is included with a night’s stay. They are absolutely delicious! They have a meaty, savory flavor, but I can’t put my finger on it, And yes, we would gladly drive five hours to eat them!
While at Monouth a couple of weeks ago, I asked Miss Mary about her grits technique. Her number one piece of advice is to cook them longer than the directions. She said brands aren’t that important. She did say she puts butter in them. Sadly, she said she puts a little something on top, but I couldn’t hear her.
Last week. I purchased my first bag of grits, Aunt Jemima brand. I decided to do a little test to see if I could replicate Miss Mary’s grits.
The package called for 15 to 20 minutes of cooking. They were fine at 20 minutes, but 25 or 30 were creamier. As for flavor, I tried onion, garlic, bacon fat, chicken bouillon, and beef bouillon, separately. My favorite flavor was adding the chicken bouillon, but it still wasn’t Miss Mary’s.
I do hope to find the secret ingredient Miss Mary uses, but until then I will keep experimenting. Maybe when I get a hankering for grits, I’ll just visit Monmouth Inn again!
Bonus Information: Monmouth Inn is an amazing place to stay while visiting Natchez. The staff is friendly and helpful. The food in the restaurant, 1818, is delicious. The rooms are unique and comfortable. And the grits are to die for! Miss Mary has been cooking wonderful food at Monmouth for thirty years.