Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Monday, 16 February 2009

Biting the hand that fed them - grits

When senior executives from Detroit’s Big Three recently took their begging bowls to Washington they were vilified for using company planes. Once, much humbler individuals used this form of transport.

The short-haul airliner (Alas, Relucent Reader, I’ve forgotten the type) was emblazoned with North American Rockwell’s logo and colours. Half the seats had been removed to increase leg room for the press party. In the aisle a polished wood box, somewhat larger than a Hammond organ, proved to be a well stocked bar opened while we were still climbing quite steeply. We were bound for Statesboro, Georgia, where I ate grits with red-eye gravy for the first time.

Ostensibly we were visiting a factory manufacturing control valves. In reality we were observing the latest skirmishes in the American Civil War. The factory managers all appeared to be New Yorkers who bitterly resented Statesboro. On the bus from the airport one of them commented: “You’ll see the town has a railway running through it. This is so lots of people can live on the wrong side of the tracks.”

Later were were told how to obtain a driving licence – necessary if you move to another state. “You pull up at a drive-in window in the town hall. You hand over your application form and five dollars. You’re told to drive round the town hall and pull up again to pick up your licence. Which would have been just fine except that my neighbour was driving the car.” Lots of sipping whisky that evening brought more of these stories which – inevitably – I have forgotten. Together with anything I learned about control valves.

6 comments:

Avus said...

I have heard of grits, but what the heck is "red eye gravy"?

Barrett Bonden said...

You've forced me to look it up. I accepted it on trust at the time, aware only that it came with grits. An odd combination of food to be eating at breakfast and in my case only eaten because everyone in Pittsburgh, where I was living at the time, sneered at it. I had a reputation for contrariness that I needed to maintain. "...a thin sauce often seen in the cuisine of the Southern United States ...made from the drippings of pan-fried country ham that has been mixed with black coffee ...often served over ham, cornbread, grits, or biscuits". It was less remarkable than the recipe suggests. I'm sure you don't need telling that biscuits aren't biscuits as we'd know them.

By the way, Avus, there's a longish response to your comment about ebooks (previous post).

Relucent Reader said...

As a transpalnted Northener in the South ("y'all ain't from around heah, are yuh"), I like grits. I like corn in her many manifestations: polenta, grits, cornbread, etcetc. Which is good because pork and sometimes corn are two important food groups here in Dixie.
The War has changed slightly, though violations do occur in the ceasefire. Your inclusion of a variant of Georgia's Stars and Bars would start a brouhaha around here.
The South is right about the value of eating greens, though, and the people generally have nice manners ( I can say 'good morning' to someone and not get maced.Try that in Boston.).

Julia said...

Have you ever tried your grits with shrimp and butter? Surely the tastiest manifestation of ground corn that I can think of!

Barrett Bonden said...

RR/Julia: I was determined to like grits simply because Pennsylvanians insisted I shouldn't. In fact it could be a base for all sorts of things: thick sliced, chopped bacon springs to mind. I once created a fried bacon/peanut butter sandwich to the absolute horror of my pal from Little Rhody. "It only goes with jelly," he spluttered, opening up a whole new area of misunderstanding regarding transatlantic attitudes towards that word (jelly, that is).

Avus said...

Ham drippings mixed with black coffee......God, weren't you brave, BB