True Grits

Last  week I gave myself a little gift. I do this occasionally, and quite honestly the credit for the idea goes to someone else. I read in a popular magazine a few years ago about a lady who decided  that rewarding herself in a manner that would be guilt-free, with no remorse attached, would be to give herself a “gift.” These gifts that she spoke of were not tangible items, however.  Instead they were little presents of luxuries. Sometimes she would reward herself with an entire day of no obligations, just lounging around in her pj’s , reading a book, doing nothing except what she wanted to do. Other times she gave herself the gift of “permission” to not have to  attend a meeting or function that she was just not up to. Playing hooky, if you will. Once you give yourself these” gifts,” then all worries, guilt, and second guessing are suppressed, because that is what a gift is all about. You don’t give it and then take it back. Done deal. It’s yours! However crazy this may sound, it works. And I proudly proclaim that I have adopted this idea and that it has brought me much pleasure. Sometimes I give myself those special “gift” days. An entire day to eat all three meals out if I wish, coffee breaks, take in a movie or two, which ever my rear and my pocketbook will handle, shop,  or just simply stay home and remain in my pajamas. When I was in the workforce this gift was much more appreciated by myself than now because   since I am retired, I can have this kind of day, any day I choose. But when I was working, it was priceless.
So, on my “gift” day last week I went to the theater. I watched two movies. How Do You Know and True Grit.
At the first movie I spent two hours being mildly bored, but I stuck it out anyway. The other movie, True Grit, was an experience. There were times I pulled my sweater up over my eyes, times I sat on the edge of my seat, and times I gasped out loud and had to look away from the screen. I knew going in that it was a western, so I was somewhat prepared, but in the one scene where the bandit drew a knife when his friend  was about to rat him out, well,  let’s just say he removed that possibility. Despite all of this, I loved the movie. My sister, Mary Lou, is a die hard John Wayne admirer, and has seen and owns every movie he ever made. She wouldn’t go with me. She, like many other Wayne followers, thinks the remake is a dishonor to The Duke and if Jeff Bridges had written permission from Mr. Wayne himself, she still wouldn’t accept the movie. And that’s o.k.
I wasn’t there to make a comparison to the original. I was just enjoying.
This is how some folks cast their eyes( and palates) on a food dish. Their mother made it with certain ingredients, a certain way, so any other version, though good enough to make Julia Child ask for seconds, simply would  not be good enough. The sad thing is, they miss out on some really good food. A new spice, a different ingredient added in, a small addition to the familiar ingredients, any of these things make them push it back after the first bite. Take that second bite for goodness sake and introduce new things to your taste buds. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. But at least give it a chance.
One of my favorite foods is liver. Chicken or beef, if it is cooked correctly, can be heaven. I can remember one summer when I was visiting my grandparents and I was raiding the refrigerator. On the shelf there was a small saucer with a beautiful little piece of steak on it. I  picked it up cold and headed outside. My was it yummy. When Grandpa came in from the fields,  he washed up and went into the kitchen. He  opened the  refrigerator and  I heard him ask my grandmother where his liver was. What liver?
A sickening feeling stirred in my stomach and I must have turned a pale green as  I went into the kitchen. “ Is that what was on that saucer?” I asked.  My grandfather got a good laugh out of it, and I realized, after the thought of it subsided, that I liked liver!!
Does it make for a bad ham if we glaze with maple syrup and Dijon mustard rather than
Brown sugar and honey? It’s just a matter of taste. Try both.
I like grits with lots of pepper and butter. Some people use the instant grits and just add water. What? No butter? Now that is not TRUE GRITS!!!
The following is an Asian glaze for salmon. Before this recipe was given to me, I simply used just salt and pepper. What a difference it made!
Glaze for Salmon (  glaze covers about 3 pounds of salmon)
 2 Tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  6 Tablespoons olive oil
  ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  Mix together and brush on salmon before and during cooking time
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2 Responses to True Grits

  1. Ellie says:

    This was a wonderful piece, Jeannie! A long time ago, I, too, adopted the idea of giving myself “treats,” and one that has lasted for more than forty years is that I never cook on Sundays. Early on, when I was working as a free-lance editor, managing a house and garden, tending to a husband, two kids and two golden retrievers, I decided I needed one day a week when I did not have to do anything for anyone. Even if everyone had to sustain themselves on cereal or peanut butter sandwiches all day, that was okay. Turns out, no one seems to have suffered any adverse effects — but I got the chance to recharge for the next week. Priceless!

  2. Christa says:

    Again, I really enjoyed, reading your story. I also learned, that taking time for yourself, is very important. I did learn the hard way, when in 2009 I was confronted with not only the open heart surgery but then three and a half weeks later with the mastectomy. Never in my life before did I took time out for myself, now, almost a year and three month later, I am still giving myself that time, as my body just does not want to ‘accept’ the recovery yet. But it is very interesting, that some higher power made that choice for me and now, I am very happy, not doing anything until my body tells me, it’s time.
    I also like the way you describe the way to enjoy food. Today, there are many people who are so picky, I often feel, telling them ‘how about trying to eat weeds from the ditches for two or more years, because, that’s all the ‘food’ we could srounge’ in those after the war days’. But then I say to myself, maybe they don’t know, how to appreciate food, they never had to go through these times, and yes, they are the lucky ones.
    Keep writing, Jeanie. I will wait for your next ‘walk’ ‘down the rural road. X0X0.

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