Want to eat grits as an occasional snack/meal at your workplace? Well, don't we all. Here's your guide to Grits At Work...
First you must choose your type of grits. For many of you non-Southerners, you will be limited because of the lack of availability of all three types of grits.
I like my grits more on the smooth side than "gritty". So all my opinions come from that perspective.
I also may use the term "nuke" to refer to microwaving something.
!! Old-Fashioned Grits
For me, these are the best grits to have at work.
* Since these grits usually come in a canister, you can fit a lot in a small space.
* I took a plastic spoon and broke most of the handle off so that it wasn't longer than the diameter of the grits cannister. Now it's my measuring spoon, and I keep it in the cannister.
* Have some salt at your desk. I use Kosher Salt.
* Have some butter in your work fridge, if you want it in your grits. If you don't have access to a fridge, you could use some butter packets from somewhere like KFC. They can be stored at your desk. You can also just store butter at room temperature. I'd rather do that that use the KFC-style "butter-type spread".
* Have an appropriately-sized bowl at your desk. It'll get hot when nuked, so one with a handle is a bonus.
* Obtain a spoon somewhere along the way.
* You'll also need your pocket knife to cut the butter.
! Fix Em
# At your desk, take your bowl and put the right amount of grits in.
# Add salt.
# Head to the break room/location of the microwave and fridge.
# Hopefully you have a hot water tap somewhere: either on the coffee machine, or the water fountain. Add the water to your grits. Stir.
# Microwave it till it starts boiling or almost does.
# Take it back to your desk and let it sit there for a few minutes. Stir a couple of times to make sure they don't clump. This will allow the grits to absorb some of the water. My belief is that this is essential for creamier grits. Note that instant grits do not absorb like this, so letting them sit does no good.
Don't let them sit longer than a few minutes if you can help it. I let one bowl sit for several hours just as an experiment and it was not pretty. They were stale and hard when I nuked them at end of day. Ick.
# Take grits back to break room/location of the microwave and fridge and microwave them for about 2.5 mins. More if you added too much water. Stir occasionally, and make sure they don't bubble over. Every minute or so, stop the microwave and let them sit and stop bubbling. Then continue till done.
# During the last few seconds, grab your butter from the fridge and carve off a pat. Toss that in the bowl once they're done heating.
# The bowl will be hot, so have one with a handle or use paper towels to protect your hands when transporting it back to your desk.
# Let bowl sit for a few minutes to cool down. You'll see the yummy skin form on the top. I like that part.
The great thing about grits is that they just need to be soaked a little while and the bowl will easily come clean.
!! Quick Grits
I haven't noticed too much difference between these guys and the Instant ones as far as microwave preparation.
!! Instant Grits
You would think that being "instant", that these would be great for work. But I disagree. But hey, they do come in handy packets. But if you just follow the instructions, I think you end up with "Quick But Crappy" grits, rather than just "Instant" grits.
And they do have a different taste than old-fashioned grits. And you have to work at getting rid of the lumps (which does not happen with old-fashioned grits. But maybe I'm being too anal... a few lumps are not necessarily a bad thing.
Following are some different cooking methods I've tried for Instant grits...
To improve the taste of Instant grits, I just cook them longer than the directions say.
For instance, my Instant Cheese Grits here say to mix with water (the assumption is lukewarm water) and then nuke for 1 min to 1 min 15 sec. I think this is way too short of a time.
I pour in some water from the coffee-maker's hot water tap and then I nuke it for a few minutes. After the first 45 sec or so, you have to stop it periodically to keep it from boiling over.
Overcooking is also a fine way to get rid of some water (if you added too much).
! Following the Conventional Intstructions (Using Boiling Water)
I emptied the pack into a bowl, and poured on some water from the coffee-maker's hot water tap (which should be boiling or close to it), and stirred. In a few minutes, when it cooled a little, what I had were gritty grits. I don't care for gritty grits. The overcooking method above definitely helps with this.
I also note that for this test, I'm using Quaker's Instant Cheese Grits. I can't imagine how bland the original flavor would be under this cooking method.
But if you have Instant Cheese grits, and are in a hurry, this is better than nothing.
! Following the Microwave Intstructions (Starting from cold water)
I emptied the pack into a bowl, and poured on some water from the tap, and stirred. I then nuked it for the prescribed 1 min 15 sec.
These are not as gritty as the Conventional method above. I guess the time in the microwave helped to smooth them out a little as compared to the hot water method.
Still not as good as the overcooking method, but better than the Conventional method above.