Here I am again in Northern Virginia.  Just up for a week visiting my sis while Rocket-man works to bring home kibble for The Poodle …and what’s left pays the bills.  It’s frigid cold and there is a light dusting of snow still on the ground from just a few days back.  It brings home memories of more than twelve years ago when home was here and not middle-earth-land Alabama…back when I ceremoniously threw my snow shovel in the dumpster as my last act before getting in the car and heading to the real La-La Land…. Los Angeles.

It’s been less than two weeks since our last hugs but once again sis and I are standing in her cozy kitchen wondering what to prepare for dinner.  Sis is always quick on her feet about menu ideas.

“What about grits?” She asks.

How that came to her I have no idea.  Remember, Italian blood runs through our veins.

Still, I am quick to say “Sounds perfectly yummy.”

“I think there is a recipe in The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook,” she says.

Sure enough there is.  Ree Drummond’s Cheese Grits looks to be the perfect comfort food on a cold winter’s night.  I look over the recipe trying not to choke on the fact that its got tons of butter and even more cheese.

Oh hells bells.  It’s 12 degrees outside! Besides….How many times do I make a recipe like this?  Once in a blue moon.  Scouts honor.  

While I prepared the grits with all the butter and twice the cheese, sis rustled up polpette (a version of Italian meatballs) made of ground veal, because well….the cat got into the sausage necessitating plan “b”.   Aromas of garlic, olive oil, freshly grated cheeses, nutmeg, and minced parsley filled the kitchen in short order.  Wine flowed as sis fried the meatballs while simultaneously helping her eight year-old son with a poster project.

I marveled at that for a moment. What a great mom my sis is.

And with that,  flashbacks of my own.   It seems like a lifetime ago that I was doing much the same: stirring a pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove while trying to get my kids to start…or finish… homework.  Where have the years gone?

My lament is brief.  It must be….

I sip on my robust red while pulling tother the cheese grits.  Four eggs. Check.  Four cloves of garlic? Wow…OK!  And,  uncharacteristic for me, I don’t even bother to measure out the cheeses: sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack….I throw it all in straight from their bags.  I grate a bowlful of gruyere and throw that in too. And then there is the  butter.  I close my eyes as I add it to the pot of grits.  Wow.  A stick and a half.  It’s A LOT of BUTTER.  Cayenne pepper?  Hmm.  It’s supposed to be half a teaspoon but my bro-in-law, after a taste test says it needs more.  So, I eye-ball that too.  Oh boy. Yes, the final product had a pleasant kick.

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It’s cold outside but Oh baby its delightfully warm on this January night in my sis’s kitchen. Our cheeks are rosy from laughter –or is it from the wine–and our bellies are happy-full  with southern grits and Italian meatballs.  A wacky combination you say?  Judge not.  This comfort coma was pure bliss.

Fortunately, there is always tomorrow to walk off some of that butter.