Monday, May 3, 2010

Grits in Utah?

GRITS: corn that is partly crushed (really ground down) before cooking, often eaten for breakfast or as part of a meal in the southern US. Most southerners put lots of butter and salt in their grits or even put cheese in them, but I've known some to put a tad of sugar in them as well.

So how did grits get in Utah? As everyone knows, I'm virtually visiting Mr. Hughes class in Utah and we are using Carol Baldwin's book "Teaching the Story" for writing class. We are working on dialogue now, not how to create dialogue but making it useful in the story. Carol has a page of Tips for Writing Dialogue. While reading the tips, I had to really laugh about this one particular one:

Show your characters doing something as they talk. Is he shoveling grits into his mouth? Is she painting her toenails deep purple? Is the old man wiping his bifocals with an embroidered handkerchief? Does the teenager frown/roll her eyes/tremble/avert her eyes/giggle? Is the lawyer tapping his foot/pencil/briefcase impatiently? Gestures, body language, actions, and small habits can all add to the picture you create in your reader's mind.

Now I'm not saying that isn't a good tip, it's just I don't think Carol realized she placed herself in the South with the grits statement and she may have even dated herself due to the reference of "embroidered handkerchief."

I've even been called on not doing this by my editors, so it is a good tip and one that I've tried to get the students to see during class time with their own writing projects. Funny how we can see things when others don't do them or do them differently but not when we do it. I'm getting better I hope with the dialogue as far as having my characters doing something while they talk, so that's a good thing all around.

And now you know ... the rest of the story (taken from Paul Harvey's "The Rest of the Story" radio tidbits) - Mrs. E :)


Mr. Hughes said...

It was funny. I was surprised on how many kids had actually heard of them. Lol. The book is a great resource. Thanks for spending the time in our class. It is greatly appreciated.

elysabeth said...

The question is - how many of them have ever eaten grits? - lol. I think it's great they had heard of them. I like with lots of butter and some salt and definitely not runny but have to have some stand up ability and I don't like them stiff as a board that you can't even eat them or lumpy - I like cheese grits too.

Hominy is basically the same thing but its not that finely ground - looks more like corn. Either way, they are still a southern speciality. I've heard they serve a mean shrimp and grits meal here in the south in many places. Maybe I'll try it one day.

Thanks for stopping by - see you in class Wednesday - E :)

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