For thicker grits
© 7 October 2021 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
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Perspective can change annoyance to joy.


The directions on a container of grits I recently purchased, after giving water-to-grits ratios and cooking instructions, has this addendum:

Tip: For thicker grits, decrease water; for thinner gits, increase water.

When I read that, my first instinct was to groan at a world that feels a need to state the obvious. But then I reflected: why do I think that’s obvious?

I have a bag of rice with overall similar directions: a ratio of water to grain, heat, time. But it has nothing about increasing water to make thinner rice. A box of pasta’s directions also look similar, but again, no mention of tweaking water to change consistency. But on the rolled oats, there it is again: “‍For thicker oatmeal use less water. For thinner oatmeal use more water.‍”

I, who have been cooking for decades and was tutored in my first cooking by someone who had been cooking for decades more, find all of this obvious. But somewhere there’s some lucky soul taking their first unguided steps into this delightful world who is being given this important lesson: “‍This isn’t the only way: you can play with it. It also isn’t mysterious: there’s a pattern to it.‍” Somewhere someone will read those words and feel invite to look behind the curtain.

I like that image. Maybe the addendum was added for some annoying reason like the company getting tired of bad reviews because their grits were too thick, but even if that was the motivation I want to think about that lucky soul learning something from a container of grits that they had never before learned.

Seen the right way, almost everything in my life can make me smile.

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