Hominy grits are made from hominy—which is corn that has been soaked in a dilute lye solution in order to make the kernels swell. The hominy is then dried and ground. Grits are available in several different grinds from fine to course.
Grits of all kinds are a serious Southern tradition. They're eaten at the breakfast table like oatmeal or cream of wheat. They're classic served as a main dish with shrimp and cheese, or served up for supper as a side dish. Grits are also baked into casseroles, and they can be chilled, sliced, and pan-fried like polenta.
Grits are usually simmered in water or milk, to a consistency that is entirely up to your preference. Some people prefer their grits thin, like porridge, others like them good and thick.
Grits are bland by nature, so they take well to just about any flavoring. They are great prepared simply with salt, pepper, and a little butter or cheese, but they can be dressed up however you like.
Depending on the variety (instant, quick, or regular) and the grind, grits can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes to cook.