Southern Schools: Let Us Eat Grits!
By Todd Starnes
When President Obama promised to fundamentally transform America, we had no idea he was secretly plotting to ban biscuits and grits.
The 2010 Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act strictly limited calories, fat, salt, sugar and just about everything else that makes food edible – including grits.
It was the War of Culinary Aggression.
“We could originally serve half whole grains but that changed in 2012 when we had to start serving 100 percent whole grains,” said Stephanie Dillard, the child nutrition director for Geneva County Schools in Alabama.
That meant no more grits.
“And grits are a staple in the South,” Ms. Dillard told me. “Students really want to eat their grits.”
I’m fairly certain had Southerners known President Obama had taken away their biscuits and grits, Mitt Romney would’ve won the South in a landslide.
My editor just sent me an email reminding me that I have a diverse readership and I should probably include a working definition of the word “grits.”
The word “diverse” is a polite way of saying I have a number of Yankee readers.
So for all y’all up in the Bronx, grits are made from stone-ground corn and prepared with lots of butter. Grits are also versatile – meaning you can eat them for breakfast or supper (which is the meal called dinner north of the Mason-Dixon Line).
“Grits and fish go well together,” Ms. Dillard said. “Students love that.”
Of course, the folks from South Carolina are renowned for shrimp and grits and I know a few folks in Mississippi who toss a few eggs in theirs. I’m from Tennessee and we prefer a little cheese in our grits – but I digress.
The Obama Administration also had a problem with traditional Southern buttermilk biscuits made from Martha White Four.
“Biscuits have to be 100 percent whole grain,” Ms. Dillard said. “It’s not the kind of biscuit you would see at a restaurant.”
Nor is it the kind of biscuit you would see on your grandmother’s dining room table or a Wednesday night church supper. Why, no self-respecting Southerner would ever serve such an atrocity.
I had the unfortunate experience of eating one of those government-approved biscuits. I wouldn’t wish that culinary apostasy on Bernie Sanders.
“It’s hard to find good, fluffy, 100-percent whole grain biscuits,” Ms. Dillard told me.
I’m not terribly surprised. The South has a better chance of rising than a 100-percent whole grain, government-approved biscuit.
“The students have gotten used to them,” she said. “They really aren’t that bad.”
My friend, the Southern humorist Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, seems to think whole grain biscuits are a Communist plot.
“No freedom honoring nation should force whole grain cathead biscuits on their young,” she told me.
Like Grandmother Starnes used to say, biscuits should only be made from buttermilk and Martha White Flour, the way the Good Lord intended.
All that to say, a delegation of school nutritionists recently paid a visit to Congress to politely inform lawmakers that the Obama-era food rules were overcooking their grits.
“We’re asking for some flexibility so we can serve 50-percent whole grains,” Ms. Dillard said. “If we can have that, we would be allowed to serve our grits.”
The School Nutrition Association is lobbying for a relaxation of the rules, too. But they took me to task for saying President Obama had banned grits.
“There’s no ban on one kind of food – it just has to fit within the criteria,” their spokesperson told me.
Grits don’t fit into their criteria – so in my estimation that means they’re banned.
For what it’s worth, Miss Shellie stands with the good people of Alabama as they try to bring back grits.
“May God have favor on their efforts,” she said. “Grits can heal America.”
We now ask Speaker Ryan to do the right thing and restore biscuits and grits to their rightful place.
And the next time the federal government decides to outlaw basic Southern provisions, We the People should rise up and tell Uncle Sam to kiss our grits.