I have to confess that I never ate grits until I was married. There, I said it! I was born in the North and raised in Florida, where grits are held in slight disdain. At the first family Thanksgiving, after I married Paul, I spotted an unknown dish on the overflowing table. Feeling the pressure to fit in, I added a small helping to my plate. It was love at first bite! Not only was it rich and creamy, hot and cheesy, but also when I learned that Baked Cheese Grits is ALWAYS invited to a family get-together I popped it right onto my personal list of Comfort Foods.
When I read the recipe, I saw that the specified cheese was Coon Cheese. That raised my eyebrows a bit, but I soon learned that Coon cheese is named after its American creator, Edward William Coon of Philadelphia. Coon patented a method, the Cooning process, for fast maturation of cheese through high temperature and humidity. It’s difficult to find these days, so a sharp cheddar is more often used. At Stonehurst Place, we use grits milled at Nora Mill, in Helen, Georgia – one of our favorite day trips.
I’ve done my part in passing down the Baked Cheese Grits tradition, and my daughter even called the other day for a reminder of the ingredients. Find the Stonehurst Place recipe here, and start a Southern tradition in your family.
~ Innkeeper Lori