Sunday, September 25, 2011

Remembering Tom and Breakfast For Dinner

Good food...humble fare
Humble fare on a Saturday night....too tired....don't wanna cook.  
Tom King Solomon Jones
It's been a long day getting ready for, then attending our friend Tom's memorial service.  Tom King Solomon Jones was a force in the Medical Cannabis Community; his physical presence will be sorely missed, but his presence in the movement will remain forever. 

He was one of the first people I met at Dennis' Market Street facility.  First there was Hazel, then Teri then Tom.  Long live Tom, long live 'em all!  The service was nice; this was the second one we attended actually.
Dennis 1444 Market St. @ 1997
Some people reverberate in life, their passing causes waves of the need for friends and family to be remember.

The first memorial had been a bit more formal and was held early in the day.
This second one was an outdoor event in Golden Gate Park.  It was foggy and damp, but there were people we hadn't seen since the Co-Op closed. We laughed and cried, as much for seeing one another again as on Tom's behalf. 

It was wonderful, healing. Each hug, each smile soothing some deep pocket of our souls.We remembered Tom,sang, had food, shared our healing herbs after the traditional 420 blessing.  We talked about the real need of a Medical Cannabis Community Center.  Then we sang some more.

On the way back to our apartment, my heart and mind were so full....I whispered a prayer that some day, some how we could make the Medical Cannabis Community Center a reality. 

Once home and changed into our comfies, we were relaxed enough to feel hungry.  There'd been food at the gathering - some day I'll talk about the gastronomical fun to be had at a Community bash.  I just don't want to get side tracked.  

Suffice to say, there'd been food.  We didn't eat much; too busy catching up with everybody to grab a plate. 
So there I stood in the kitchen doorway, not wanting dinner.

The first thing that came to mind was breakfast.  "That's certainly not dinner."  I said to the cat, who is usually terribly interested in kitchen related things. "Okay Wylie, up on your stool. Let's find something."   

Wylie T. Katz

I swear our kitty must have been a chef in a former life.  He sits on his perch - far enough away from the work surface but near enough for him to watch.  And he really watches.  Sometimes I swear I see him wrinkling his nose in disapproval over something I've done. 

So while he got settled in, I parroosed the pantry.  My eyes paused briefly on the Jiffy Baking Mix.  Pancakes? Too much work. Cold cereal? Too cold.  Oatmeal?  Not tonight.  Grits.  Hmmmmm.  Too tired to argue, I grabbed the container.  I also found some corn meal and brought it to the table.  Why cornmeal? You may well ask!  It actually improves the flavor and texture...if done right that is.  Done wrong, it'll create little yellow balls that are impossible to break down.  So if you don't want to add the cornmeal, don!t.  It's okay.
"This is gonna be good." I smiled.  Wylie looked at my findings, seemed to loose interest and hopped down.  I'm sure he was hoping I'd opt for tuna salad.  That can was just sitting there. He'd have been able to bribe a tiny morsel with a well calculated mew, but grits?  To him they weren't worth the effort.

Jack likes his grits "cereal style,"  that is with brown sugar, butter and milk in a bowl.  The consistency he likes is that of pudding - if pudding had goose bumps.  Not lumps, just texture.

I like mine any number of ways.  Most favorite is buttered grits with country gravy, sausages and eggs. These grits are thick, like stiff peak mashed potatoes.  But I like "cereal style" too.  Especially when I don't want to fuss. 


2 1/4 cups water (if not adding cornmeal, reduce to 2 cups)
salt (optional)
3/4 cups grits (I use the 5 minute kind)
1/4 cup corn meal (optional -remember to adjust the milk measurement accordingly)
butter or margarine softened
milk warmed

Rapidly boiling water
Use a large enough pot to allow for cereal to expand without spilling over.  Fill with water, cover and heat  to rapid boil.  Lower flame, uncover pan. Add corn meal, stir with wire whisk then cover and cook for 3 minutes.  Uncover and stir with whisk.  Add grits gradually, continuing to whisk while doing so.  

Whisking is essential
Once added, whisk around a few more moments then cover and lower flame to simmer for 5 minutes.  Then remove from heat, keeping it covered for 5 more minutes.  Then whisk it around.  This is where having a larger pan comes in handy.  Add some of the butter and whisk some  more.

If every body wants brown sugar on their grits, you can add it at this point, whisking  it in.  You can add some milk at this point too...whisking while doing so.   This whisking breaks down any large lumps and insures everything gets mixed well.  Spoons don't do this.

Dinner is served
Serve with milk and a bit more butter drizzled over the top.  I always put some extra brown sugar on the side in case anybody needs more.   

NOTE:  For those with dietary issues - you can use a brown sugar substitute with this dish and it'll taste just fine. 

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