Grits, Pralines and Pecans..., when YOU are the one who invented the food, YOU get to say what the pronunciation of that food is.  I know that you are most likely wondering..."WHAT is she talking about NOW?!"  Well, it all started with Caitlin coming into the den the other evening and saying, "How do you pronounce the word, 'pralines'?"  And I immediately KNEW what was up!

My answer to Caitlin's question was another question..."Did you just get off the phone with Kevin?"  She laughed as Robby chimed in, "I bet he pronounces it PRAY-LEEN!"  Yep!  That's EXACTLY what had happened.  I told her that was the "Yankee Way" (no offense intended...just a fact) of pronouncing it.  I said to tell Kevin that "If you invented the food, you get to say how to pronounce the name of it".  Then, I began to think..."I guess he says PEE-CAN for pecans too..."  Now, don't get me wrong...we all like Kevin, but having a northerner around is sorta fun.  He should KNOW how these things are pronounced...after all, his mother is a southern gal; originally from Texas.  That's why I was astonished that he also did not eat one of our FAVORITE breakfast dishes...GRITS.

I found years ago that if one travels too far north, they run into this "Breakfast Problem".  Either there are NO grits to be found on the menu or the grits they attempt to serve are not very good.  My own father-in-law, although he has been living here in Louisiana for MANY years, STILLl refuses to eat grits.  He is from Buffalo, New York; enough said!  I have decided that I know why most people don't like this food we feed to our babies as soon as they can eat.  It all lies in the preparation.  One has to KNOW the "proper" way to prepare grits.  In saying this, I will tell you how it is done.  First, STAY AWAY from those "instant" ones!  The "real" ones only take a minute...OK 5 MINUTES.  All you have to do is simply follow the directions on the box...the STOVE TOP directions, that is.  Don't EVER prepare grits in the microwave.  So, put the water in the pot with a little salt and when it begins to boil, pour the grits in...and HERE is the secret ingredient that makes grits taste so YUMMY; BUTTER!  And I mean "real butter"; not margarine or any of that spread stuff.  Cut off a big ole hunk of butter and throw it in the pot too.  Stir it, turn the fire down to simmer and voila''ve got good old southern grits!  For a little variation on the classic version of grits, you can also add some mild cheddar cheese.  Now, WHO in the world couldn't just LOVE this totally southern dish?! 

Now, on to the Pralines (PRAH-LEENS).  Now, Kevin told Caitlin that, "Pralines are just sugar and pecans"...that is just not so; pralines are so much more.  One can find them almost EVERYWHERE in the south; gas stations, convenience stores, at the cash register in restaurants and, of course in EVERY home during the Christmas holiday season; they are just the perfect, sugary after dinner (or any old time...) sweet treat. And the pecans (PUH-CAHNS) that can be found in those  pralines fall off of our pecan trees that are all over the place.  As a child, we would take plastic ice cream buckets out to pick our own pecans for baking homemade goodies.  I have even been given pecans in decorative tins as Christmas presents before.  Pecans can just be considered the "jewel of the south".  And sugar??  Sugar Cane crops are plentiful down here.  Why, I can recall breaking off pieces of sugar cane and chewing on the actual stalk to extract that sweet, raw flavor.  Whoever thought of  putting these "southern grown staples" together to make the tasty praline deserves a great big THANK YOU!

So, the way I see it is, WE grow the ingredients, WE invent the foods... WE get to say how it is pronounced!  Grits, pralines and pecans...However anyone looks at is all YUMMY, SOUTHERN COOKIN'!

Pecans...The "Jewel of the South"

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