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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Twenty-Minute Grits In 4.5 Minutes

National Review hits close to home in a strange way. In his column The God Who Bleeds, Jonah Goldberg mocks the lofty expectations of of the Obama administration:

Obama isn’t supposed to be a typical politician. He was supposed to be The One. He was supposed to change Washington. Transcend race. Fix souls. Bake twelve-minute brownies in seven minutes.

This caught Mark Krikorian's attention:

Jonah: You were obviously right to go with the Trek reference. But you overlooked another film reference opportunity: instead of "Bake twelve-minute brownies in seven minutes," how about "cook 20-minute grits in five minutes."

That second link leads to the IMDb page for My Cousin Vinny. For those (like me) who haven't seen the film, the memorable quotes page explains the jest:

Vinny Gambini: Why not? How long was they in the store for?
Mr. Tipton: 5 minutes.
Vinny Gambini: 5 minutes? How do you know? Did you look at your watch?
Mr. Tipton: No.
Vinny Gambini: Oh, oh, oh, you tesitfied earlier that you saw the boys go into the store, and you had just begun to cook your breakfast and you were just getting ready to eat when you heard the shot.
Mr. Tipton: That's right.
Vinny Gambini: So obviously it takes you 5 minutes to cook your breakfast.
Mr. Tipton: That's right.
Vinny Gambini: That's right, so you knew that. You remember what you had?
Mr. Tipton: Eggs and grits.
Vinny Gambini: Eggs and grits. I like grits, too. How do you cook your grits? Do you like them regular, creamy or al dente?
Mr. Tipton: Just regular I guess.
Vinny Gambini: Regular. Instant grits?
Mr. Tipton: No self respectin' Southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits.
Vinny Gambini: So, Mr. Tipton, how could it take you 5 minutes to cook your grits when it takes the entire grit eating world 20 minutes?
Mr. Tipton: I don't know, I'm a fast cook I guess.
Vinny Gambini: I'm sorry I was all the way over here I couldn't hear you did you say you were a fast cook, that's it?
Mr. Tipton: Yeah.
Vinny Gambini: Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than anywhere else on the face of the earth?
Mr. Tipton: I don't know.
Vinny Gambini: Well, I guess the laws of physics cease to exist on top of your stove. Were these magic grits? Did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans?

I can cook regular non-instant grits for four and a half minutes, using a 1000-wat microwave oven. The trick is to have a food container tall enough to keep the grits from bubbling over the side. I've found that the Rubbermaid TakeAlongs 1.2L containers ideal for the task. Place salt and 14 ounces of water in the container; stir so that the saltiness evens out. Then pour in 1/2 cup grits and stir. Microwave at the normal setting for 4.5 minutes; adjust accordingly if your appliance's wattage is different. Don't try to speed up the process by adding boiling water before microwaving; this will make the container crack.

I like to mix scrambled eggs in with my bowl of grits.

Grits still needs time to cool. What works for me is five minutes in the freezer. Stir the grits when it's out, and they're still nice and warm without being scalding. You'll still be finished with breakfast when self-respectin' Southerners are still cooking their regular grits on the stovetop.

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