Kentucky's Derby Day is the first weekend in May and it is a fun event for horse and hat lovers - and those who like to eat. People here have never heard of it, sadly. So forgive me for reminiscing a bit.
Years ago, I attended Tates Creek High School in Lexington, Kentucky and was a member of the flag corp in the marching band. We were the 50 girl team that dressed in jockey silks given to us by the many horse farms of Kentucky and waved heavy flags around and performed routines. None of that foo-foo stuff - this was really athletic and I have the bad knees to prove it! Try marching in 100 degree heat smothered in silk and you'll know what I mean. I think I wore the Darby Dan silks most of the time.
One May we were invited to the governor's derby breakfast and so we dressed in our silks and went. I remember the big white awnings, the mint juleps that we weren't allowed, and big pans of garlic cheese grits. Heavenly. Lots of pretty hats and fresh flowers and smiling people. My Old Kentucky Home was played again and again. I remember not wanting to leave. I thought being governor of Kentucky must be a good thing. Sometimes I wish I was 17 again and sitting in that fancy tent eating grits.
By the way, there is no such thing as Yankee grits out here. Or grits period. When I fly home I bring a suitcase of them back with me. Hallelujah!
In honor of Derby Day for all you Kentuckians out there, here is a recipe for garlic cheese grits:
1 cup quick-cook grits (not instant)
4 cups boiling water
1 stick butter
2 eggs, room temp, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
12 oz. Velveeta cheese
garlic powder, to taste
sprinkle paprika lightly on top
Add grits to boiling water and cook as directed. When thick, add butter, cheese, garlic powder, and stir till melted. Stir in eggs and seasoning salt. Pour into 9x13 buttered pan and bake in 325' oven for 1 hour. Happy eating!