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Logan Turnpike Mill Grits

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Just got word from UPS that my first order in almost 14 years from Logan Turnpike Mill( Logan Turnpike Mill | Mixes, Flours, Grits, Porridge, Cornmeals, Gift Paks ) scheduled to arrive tomorrow.

Now I understand that this is an "International Forum" and Grits, especially from them, are definitely a Southern US delicacy so many of you have probably never heard of this Mill.

They are located in the North Georgia Mountains just south of Blairsville and west if Brasstown Bald. They still grinding their product with antique milling equiptment and their grits are the very best I have ever had or used.
The gits I ordered were of the White corn and are definitely not of "quick cooking" variety. I also ordered some corn meal and corn flour from them as well but I have never tried any of their products other than the grits.

If anyone out there does enjoy grits or has them on the menu they are definitely worth looking into. I'll let ya'll know how their other products work out.

I am currently doing some testing for a project in the works (allbeit 10yrs old now yet it still has a pulse:D).
post #2 of 17
Oldschool, how about for those of us who aren't very familiar with grits, a favorite recipe or two? I'd appreciate it and I'm sure others would too :D I checked the links at the bottom of this page and I got some good info. Apparently prepared grits is similar to polenta.
post #3 of 17
“The gits I ordered were of the White corn and are definitely not of "quick cooking" variety.”

Remember “My Cousin Vinnie” where he tripped up the prosecution witness based on her timeline of events? She looked out the window as she started her grits, then again when she pulled them off the stove. A matter of minutes, she swore… only if the grits were “quick cooking”, which no self-respecting Southerner would use. :)

We served grits and eggs for dinner tonight, just butter and salt (okay I crumbled the bacon in mine).

Outside of the occasional grits casserole and cheese grits (cheddar for me, the sharper the better) I’m pretty much a traditionalist. So, oldschool, are you doing something snazzy with the grits or just plain grits?
post #4 of 17
Old gristmills are supposedly rare. But, oddly enough, there are two in the same general area. I haven't used Logan Turnpike, but have used Nora Mills, which is just down the road a piece.

For the furriners---folks from places like England, and Germany, and Michigan---grits are the central kernal of the corn. There are actually three layers. When processing, the husk is discarded, the middle layer is hominy, and the germ is grits.

Traditionally, the processing was done by boiling the kernels in lye. The husks were washed away. If the rest was kept as is you had hominy grits. If the two were separated, and the germ allowed to dry, you then had pure grits.

And, yes, it is similar to polenta, but usually (not always) a bit grainier. Plus grits are made from both white- and yellow-corn, whereas I don't believe there is white polenta. Leastways I've never seen any.

Most cultures in Europe have a tradition of corn meal mush. Grits is, at base, merely the American South version.

As the man asked, in My Cousin Vinnie, just how do you cook a grit? Grits are prepared by boiling in liquid, usually water, but sometimes milk, or milk and cream mixed. Most often they are served as a side.

Cheese grits is an obvious variation.

Fried grits are also popular. Like fried polenta, you first prepare the grits, pour it into a pan, and let it congeal overnight in the fridge. Then slice it and fry the slices.

Throughout the south, but mostly in the Carolina low country and parts of Georgia, Shrimp & Grits has a long tradition, along with it's variation, barbecued shrimp & grits. Sounds strange, until you taste it.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
KY, I can't say I entirely disagree with you about that yet I never held them much akin to mush or polenta mostly because both of those, when produced by my European ancestors, were made with yellow corn meal. Like you mentioned grits are typically the hominy mixed with the germ and the germ alone. Texture to texture, mush and polenta always seemed to be more solidified mush. Where as grits are often creamier or at least that's been my experiences when you compare what my grandmother made to what I was served in GA, SC, NC and VA. I've never spent much time in Kentucky/Tennessee so I'm not sure about those two areas.

Yeti, I'll do what I can. Most of what I learned about grits and Southern cooking in general was from the hip when I lived in Atlanta. It was actually at a rediscovery point in my career when I started being influenced by Southern Cuisine. To get a real appreciation for all things southern or atleast how I was influenced, pick up any or all of the Cook Books by Edna Lewis. There is one I have that was also co-authored by Scott Peacock. I have also always ejoyed Paul Prudhomme's style and techniques.

As far as ideas for things to add to grits or something "snazzy"..... I do like my grits traditional and definitely with crumbled bacon. The DD actually loves grits the same way but the DW won't get closer to them than the table they're being served at. I can say I've come a long way from my first encounter with them in 1985 when I tried to eat them like cream of wheat.......:crazy:Since then what Ky has mentioned are the most popular forms; Shrimp for Low Country shrimp grits and Cheddar cheese. Then again when I had my "epiphany" for Southern Cooking in 1994 I'd learned about them with and bacon (more specifically bacon grease), Tasso, Garlic, served as a side for fried country ham and red-eye gravy, also in place of something like Mashed potatoes for a nicely done Veal Chop and a red-eye demi, served in place of rice for Shrimp creole, with fried chicken and low country tomato gravy........And definitely for breakfast or with breakfast type foods served anytime. I've even seen folks stir fresh ground peanut butter into them. Now that didn't appeal to me very much each their own.

I will add that recipes, techniques and variations of grits cooking and southern cooking in general is as unique and plentiful as the people that cook there. Most often trying to say the best or most perfect way to cook and serve them is definitely an opinion and a highly personal one at that. Kinda like me saying the ones in the topic are the best I've ever had.;):D
post #6 of 17
Old School.....They are great grits.....I am originally from that area....Habersham/Rabun county area....there also used to be a great
Sorghum Mill near Blairsville too. Water, salt, bacon grease.....thats
how I grew up eating them....!
post #7 of 17
Just to keep the record straight, OldSchool, I was merely giving the furriners a reference for comparison.

Mush is made from cornmeal, which has been neither processed (other than grinding) nor separated. This accounts for obvious textural differences, among other things.

But the fact is, grits is grits, and there's nothing else quite like them.

A funny story about grits. When my Mom turned 80 we decided to give her a surprise party. My sister, from New York City, flew down here, and drove with us to Florida. We stopped, along the way, to visit Okefenokee Swamp. (for you out of towners, that's in southeast Georgia)

Important to the story is that, despite where she's from, my sister loves grits. Go figure.

So, on the way out, we stop for breakfast at a small-town cafe. Sister says, "I'd like a bowl of grits, but it's not on the menu."

"Don't worry about it," I said. "They'll be your plate automatically, right next to the over-easies.

"I don't want any eggs. Just a bowl of grits. But I don't see it on the menu."

"Trust me," I replied, "they'll have all the grits you want."

"But it's not on the menu," she insisted. And we went back and forth that way. Finally, in exasperation, I said, "they don't have air on the menu either, but I notice you have no problems breathing."

Well, when the server came, Sis trepidiciously asked, "is it maybe possible to just get a bowl of grits?" And, of course, without missing a beat, the lady says, "you want those plain or with cheese?"

What my sister failed to realize, and still doesn't, is that down here we only have four food groups, and grits is one of them.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #8 of 17
Great story, KY!

When I was a child, my dad raised field corn. We'd let it dry on the stalks and then the whole family (mom, dad, grandma, sister, and me) would go out and pick the ears, throwing them in the bed of the truck. Then we all worked for days to get the corn off the cobs (use an empty cob to kind of scrape if off the next one, blisters....ouch!). Then on a Saturday morning, my dad, sister, adn me would take it to an old man about 30 miles away who still ran a small mill. He'd grind it into the finest cornmeal I've ever seen and we'd take it home in clean pillow cases and divide it into bags for the freezer. That stuff made the absolute best lacy cornbread cakes! We also used it on catfish, just put in a paper bag with salt, to taste, and shake it on the fish, then fry. I can't get the storebought stuff I buy now to stay on the fish like that did.

Just sharing a fond childhood memory with you all.

I have been to Blairsville and BrassTown Bald quite a few times but never knew about that grist mill. My children, while raised up north, love grits as well as any southerner I know. We have them as a special treat when Les is gone because he wouldn't touch them with a 10 foot poll.

I'm interested in seeing some recipes, too. I just cook them plain and serve with butter and eggs or make cheese grits.
post #9 of 17
posted to this last night just before bed… dreamed of grits all night.

In the long ago days of my youth, just barely twenty one, a group of friends and I took a road trip to Philadelphia. One of the girls had relatives with a place to stay in Philly. We pooled our resources, borrowed a van and had dreams of seeing the big city and leaving the bumpkin South behind us. (Read any Pat Conroy novel and you will understand how all young Southerners have a love hate relationship with the land of our birth and must leave it to learn to really love it with a vengeance.)

Disaster does not begin to describe the trip, and let’s just say that we experienced a Philadelphia that could never be described as “The city of brotherly love.”

Young, scared, and far from home, we decided to leave early. We ventured forth from the apartment to get provisions for dinner. We decided our last meal in Philly would be an homage to the South and settled on grits and eggs.
Try as we might we could not locate grits in the neighborhood grocery store. We approached a clerk and asked “Do you have any grits?”
He just about jumped out of his skin and looked at us like we were a pile of snakes. Somewhere between the flight or fight response he suspiciously asked “What do you want with grits?” Like we had asked for some weapons grade uranium.

Imagine five twenty something women, just about reduced to tears, in the middle of a grocery store babbling on about the trials and tribulations of a horrible road trip and how we just want some grits for dinner before we go home to Alabama.

His demeanor totally changed. From the South himself, he thought we had come in to his store to start some trouble with him. A gaggle of girls looking for grits in the heart of Philadelphia must have seemed like one of the signs of the Apocalypse.:look:

He walked us to the back. There they were, on the bottom shelf, next to the entrance to the restroom. He apologized for only having “quick cooking” grits, but at that point, we’d have settled for instant. They were the best grits we ever ate.

No seafood for me (allergic), but the shrimp and grits reminded me of sausage and grits. We always use a brand of sausage produced here in Alabama, Conecuh Sausage. My mama is from Conecuh County (pronounced ka-neck-ah) and when I was little it was only available in Alabama so the few years we lived outside of Alabama (Georgia and Louisiana) we always picked some up when we came to visit grandparents at Christmas and Easter. It is now available in most Southern states in some grocery stores (Food City in Kentucky and Virginia), but they ship to the furriners.

It’s not so much a recipe as it is cutting the sausage into bite sized pieces and frying crispy, then adding the sausage pieces and some drippings to the grits as they cook. Cheese is optional.
post #10 of 17
My mother's family was rooted in east-central Missouri for many generations. In the Civil War era, this part of MO was a hotbed of Southern sympathizers (it wasn't just Kansas that was Bloody :eek: See
RootsWeb: MOSCOTLA-L [MOSCOTLA] NE Missouri in the Civil War) and grits were a well-accepted dish. Even though my parents moved to the Washington, DC area when I was very young, I still grew up with grits.

I've used Bob's Red Mill grits, but will order and try the Georgia variety.

I like 'em with cheese of your choice grated in while cooking, and a chopped Jalapeno doesn't hurt either. As Oldschool has pointed out, they are probably best as a side to thick slices of fried Missouri (or, OK, Kentucky) country ham and topped with some butter and Red Eye gravy. Lots of ground black pepper, too. :lips:

If you visit the National Battlefield Monument at Vicksburg, Mississippi, commemorating the site and the units involved in Grant's Siege of Vicksburg, you will find monuments to many Missouri regiments... on both the Union and Confederate side. I tend to weep when I go through. My great-grandfather was in one of the units on the Union side... by mistake. He ran away from home in Troy, MO at age 14 to join a battalion marching through town at night. He thought it was a Confederate unit, but when the sun came up, he discovered it was Union detachment, and he went through the rest of the Civil War (the "War Between the States" is a more accurate description) first as a drummer boy and then a foot soldier. I've seen his discharge and pension papers.

Mike :chef:
travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #11 of 17
"down here we only have four food groups, and grits is one of them."

Gee, I thought the four food groups were



Which one did you drop to fit in Grits?

Mike :D
travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #12 of 17
You been an Illini too long, Mike, and maybe are forgetting your roots.

In the American South, the traditional four food groups are:

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey what about Virginia hams? ;) I have always been partial to the Virginia variety of ham with my grits looong before we moved here just last year. Not to take anything away from the others....they are good in their own right but.........:rolleyes::D

Well breakfast is already planned for tomorrow. I have a slice of Adams Country Ham from Waverly VA (actually it's a block from the Peanut Museum and site where the first peanuts were grown here) buttermilk is in the fridge and I actually picked up some pork lard for the biscuits. Unfortunately the DD is eating with me in the morning so the fourth group of "Beer" will have to be delayed until lunch Saturday.:look:

We are planning a trip to Surry to pick up some sausage for dinner tomorrow night and since the DW is going to be on business to PHX next week we may take a trip to the coast and pick up some shrimp. There are a couple places with-in a couple hours to get coastal white shrimp so that will take care of another meal with the grits.:smiles: Too bad I can't just get it locally but there is not a grocer here in the area that sells any shrimp other than Thailand, Indonesian or China. I mean no disrespect to these countries and their aquafarming but when serving real grits it is always best to sever them with shrimp from the same area.;):cool:

I have a feeling the 5lb bag of grits that just arrived won't make it a week at this rate.:lol: I gotta talk to them about a 20lb box at this rate.:blush:

And.....I always thought the more specific food goups in the south were Sweet tea, Grits, pork rinds, greens, Budwiser (or Dixie) and......BBQ

I mentioned it was 1985 when I first had grits but it finally dawned on me where it was... On my first night after moving to Atlanta and an evening of bar hopping in Buckhead (LimeLight, Confetti and Fat Tuesday) we all hit the IHOP at the corner of Roswell and P'tree for a 3am snack then it was off to Club 112.:lol:
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey Even!

I loved that area! I remember having to drive up to the Hiawassee area to pick up some trout that missed the truck for a restaurant I was at in Atlanta.

After that I always enjoyed talking Hwy 19 on my days off for a exillerating (white-knuckle) drive. That Mazda I had back then really hugged those corners.:smoking: It was about the most winding road I'd ever been on up 'til then (even more so than Hwy 1 on the West Coast). That is until I/we drove the road to Lahaina. :eek:
post #15 of 17
I was born and raised in the south - the southwest corner of Michigan, that is. Going to visit Grandpa's farm between Dowagiac and Cassopolis was always a treat for the kids. He had this contraption where you would load the hopper with the ears of corn, crank on the big handle and the kernels would come out the little chute and the cobs come out the other. Seemed like amazing technology to a kid like me.

I love grits, and I've probably lamented more than a time or two how finding real, authentic, dry cured country ham here in Salt Lake City is a futile exercise. Of course, most of my friends would probably look at me funny if I said I really wanted to eat something that needed to have the mold scraped off and then soaked for a while to get the excess salt out. Then again, I haven't cleaned out the fridge for a while, there might be something to match that description lurking on one of the lesser visited shelves!

There has been more than one episode of finishing off a day's caving adventure with a trip to the open all night Waffle House for grits and eggs and bacon and ...

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #16 of 17
> always thought the more specific food goups in the south were Sweet [COLOR=#006666! important][FONT=verdana, geneva, lucida, 'lucida grande', arial, helvetica, sans-serif][COLOR=#006666! important][FONT=verdana, geneva, lucida, 'lucida grande', arial, helvetica, sans-serif]tea[/FONT][/FONT][/COLOR][/COLOR], Grits, pork rinds, greens, Budwiser (or Dixie) and......BBQ<

Groups is groups, OldSchool. USDA doesn't day "lettuce," for instance. It says "vegetables."

So, let's see how things go:

Sweet tea fits in the sugar group
Grits is a food group
Pork rinds fit in the cholesterol group
Dixie, of course, fits in the beer group
BBQ is a hybrid, mostly in the cholesterol group (even though not fried) and possibly the sugar group, depending on the sauce

That leaves greens. Which are, it's true, a staple. Nay, more than that, they are necessary to the soul of the south. So, I reckon we've carried this food-groups thing as far as we can. :lol:
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #17 of 17
"Hey what about Virginia hams? "

Well, Oldschool, you're right. When I was growing up in the DC area, my family tended to have Smithfield hams when we did the country ham thing... until my father got himself a hobby farm up near Frederick and started raising Black Angus and started curing hams like the family did back in Missouri. He didn't raise the hogs, but just bought hams and cured them.

I got away from Smithfield when they were acquired by the ITT conglomerate; they seemed a little too industrialized, and I had a good source of country ham from Esicar's Smokehouse in Cape Girardeau, very near the family farm in Jackson, MO.

There is a lot to be said for the peanut-finished Virginia hams, no question about it. Have you got a good place that will ship a year-old, peanut-finished VA ham for a reasonable price?

travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
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