One morning last week my wife came into our living room carrying what I thought was her usual breakfast of a waffle and some bacon, accompanied by a diet coke. I get my caffeine from coffee. She gets hers from Coke. (For some truly unknown reason, we both usually eat breakfast on tray tables in the living room, whether or not the TV is on. Don’t judge us. Just sayin’.)
On that day, though, she didn’t have the waffle, but a bowl of grits. Sorry, but do you know what grits are? They’re grits; they’re gritty, and probably not even food. That’s why they’re called grits, and should probably not be consumed by humans.
I asked Lorna what in the world she was doing. Grits? I mean, GRITS? Here in Vermont, I think nobody but my wife would even consider eating grits. “This is pancake and waffle country, Baby,” I told her, after all.
She simply replied that she liked them. I simply replied to her simple reply with a groan. To me, you just can’t eat gritty things first thing in the morning. In fact, you can’t eat gritty things at any time. In our state everyone is hooked on any food that you can slather maple syrup onto. Actually, that ‘everyone’ doesn’t include me. I also doubt that the food includes grits.
One day back in my high school teacher years, a group of us highly professional educators (sure) were sitting in the cafeteria having lunch. Somehow the subject of that maple syrup came up and I made the huge mistake of noting that I didn’t like the stuff. Evidently in Vermont, you are legally required to love maple syrup. Still, I do not. When I made my big self-incriminating announcement I could feel the other teachers slowly backing away a bit, mentally if not physically. I do think I heard one or two metal chairs sliding away from the table.
The problem, as I see it, is that I am not a true ‘Vermonter.’ I have only lived here for about forty years, and that’s not nearly enough. Being someone who is from ‘away’ is a multi-generational thing here. Some old Vermonter is reported to have said: “Well, just because a cat crawls into the oven and has kittens, that don’t make ‘em muffins.”
My wife and I are originally from Maine. Our kids were born in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Florida, and, yes, Vermont. As a Mainer, or “Maina,” I’ll have to admit to loving lobsta’. No, it’s not lobster. And I also love ‘steamas,’ which people from ‘away’ call steamed clams. (Those folks seem to misname and mispronounce everything.)
As a fellow New Englander, you likely know that in the north we don’t eat many crayfish, crawfish, crawdads, or whatever you want to call those mini lobsta’s, and we don’t eat boiled peanuts or pecan rolls. They eat those things in the south. I just don’t get it.
Southerners are also the ones who came up with the idea of grinding something, (probably sand or seashells) into a rough powder, naming it grits, boiling it, and, somehow, putting that into their mouths. As I said, I just don’t get it.
We all like a good barbecue, cookout, or whatever you call the act of throwing some big chunk of animal flesh on the gas grill and pouring our version of sauce on it. One of my favorite parts of a cookout, (which is what my family calls those cooked-outdoors, eat-outdoors meals,) is corn on the cob. I just love that stuff! Corn on the cob is probably eaten just about everywhere, with the possible exception of Antarctica. People there might have trouble even growing corn. Here in Vermont, the farmers have lately realized that they can sell their corn and can also make money where there IS no corn. How Zen is that? Thus, the invention of the corn maze.
You know, a Native American word for corn IS maize. This leads me to believe that Native Americans were the ones who came up with the idea of charging people to wander around getting lost in their fields.
A few more ‘regional edibles’ examples include fiddlehead greens, which grow in swampy, muddy areas and are the northern version of the collards of the south. I love fiddleheads, but I also realize that, in general, people will eat just about anything. Some people up here eat squirrels … and some people eat things worse than squirrels.
Also, (and I have no idea why this came to mind,) some southern belles and beaus may think peach pie is wonderful. My opinion is that peaches are fine, but if you want to make a pie it needs to have apples in it. I’m from the north.
I’ve come to the end of my regional edibles ramblings, at least until I think of some more. Enjoy whatever you love to eat, as long as it isn’t grits.