Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In Which I Reconcile Myself to the Fact that a Piece of My Childhood Is Gone Forever

Goodbye proper cheese grits. Kraft has discontinued the garlic cheese log required to make the Little Rock Cooks cookbook recipe of cheese grits required to enjoy the best cheese grits on earth. You can protest here.

But first, perhaps you would like some context. Perhaps you are one of those people who do not know what grits are. Or perhaps you are one of those people who know what grits are and love them (because to know is to love), but do not know about the fabled Little Rock Cooks recipe. Grits have a noble heritage as a Native American staple of this great land. Maybe ground/milled corn porridge doesn't sound too thrilling, but crushed wheat berries don't sound like much either compared to the beauty of bread. Grits are often served plain in the mornings with butter and salt or maybe tomato gravy. However for dinner, for Christmas, for New Year's, for accompanying honey cured hams and hot curried fruits and green beans with almonds and so on, there is nothing better than cheese grits.

The Little Rock Cooks cookbook, long time production of the local Junior League, has the acknowledged world's best cheese grits recipe. It requires a Kraft garlic cheese log. (This is not the same thing as Velveeta. I have lived abroad in many places without ready access either to grits or Kraft cheese logs. I have tried substitutes. It simply can't be done.) So when local supplies of Kraft garlic cheese logs began to dry up a year ago, concern was expressed. Then several months ago, after local supplies had all but disappeared, word went out that Kraft was discontinuing the garlic cheese log altogether. Enter my mother and Gene from Terry's Finer Foods.

"Gene was rationing them," Mama said last fall after she came home with a grocery sack full of garlic cheese. "He heard what Kraft was up to, so he stocked up." Gene owns Terry Finer Foods grocery. He started out as the bag boy, so Mama tells me, and then bought the place from Mr. and Mrs. Terry when they retired. "He was only selling four per family," Mama explained, "but I've known Gene from the beginning and I just asked him if he couldn't spare a bit more." We froze them and ate cheese grits for Christmas and for New Year's, and last night we finally ate the last of them for my sister's birthday.

Goodbye forever cheese grits.

PS - I lied. I've got to the end and there is no reconciliation. I've written the thing up and no harmonizing event has appeared without warning to put everything in context. I thought maybe that would happen. But no. In this case, the exercise of writing has proved no aid toward easing into a future without an essential foodstuff. Sorry.

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About Me

Little Rock, Arkansas
I work at a local museum, date a lovely boy, and with my free time procrastinate on things like blogs.