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Taste test: instant grits

Judging from the number of instant grits choices on grocery store shelves, most people aren't as astonished by quick-cooking grits as Vinny Gambini was in the movie My Cousin Vinny. • "How could it take you five minutes to cook your grits when it takes the entire grit-eating world 20 minutes?" Vinny asked in a now-famous line from the movie. "Were these magic grits? Did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans?" • Our judges sampled six brands of instant grits and made a good case for Vinny's "magic" grits.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
Winn-Dixie 80Jim Dandy 76Dixie Lily 55

Appearance and texture had judges raving about these grits. One judge said they looked like the inviting sand on St. Pete Beach, adding, "They are very grainy and nice and salty." Another said, "I like them because they are sweet and salty — a daub of butter and we are on our way." The grits were creamy as well. "I would love to slide a couple of over-easy eggs on this dish," said another judge.Judges said these were the perfect grits for a no-nonsense grit-based meal. "If you want grits and you want them fast, these are for you," said one judge. A couple said these would be good with added eggs, shrimp, veggies and butter and salt. "With a nice pinch of salt and a pat of butter these would be the Lexus of grits," said one. "These are just waiting for red-eye gravy," said another.Panelists referred to these as "classic" grits, the kind they think of when ordering or preparing grits. "Served very hot, these are classic — like the kind you'd get at Skyway Jack's," said one judge. Another said they were too bland for his liking, but they had potential with some added butter and salt. "I'd almost like to taste more of the ground corn in these morsels," said another.

they buy?
All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$3.29 for a 12-ounce box of 12 packets.$1.28 for a 32-ounce bag from Walmart.$1 for a 16-ounce box from


Also Sampled: Great Value ($1.92 for a 12-ounce box of 12 packets from Walmart, 45 points); Quaker Original ($2.38 for a 12-ounce box of 12 packets from Walmart, 39 points); and Randolph County ($3.49 for a 9.8-ounce box of 10 packets from Winn-Dixie, 40 points).

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Wayne Conery, manager of the R Bar on Treausre Island; and Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving sizeOne-eighth cupOne-fourth cupOne-third cup
Fat/Fiber0g / 1g0g / 0g.5g / 1g
Sugars/Sodium0g / 310mg0g / 0mg0g / 0mg
Carbs/Protein22g / 2g37g / 3g35g / 4g

Taste test: instant grits 05/12/14 [Last modified: Monday, May 12, 2014 7:56pm]
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