Presidential Palates, Part 8

President Jimmy Carter (1977 – 1981) brought southern hospitality into the White House along with his taste for simple, country food.  In an interview with Oprah, President Carter describes the transition this way. “The favorite meal is country food. When we got ready to move into the White House, Rosalynn went in—one of our staff members did—and asked the cooks and so forth at the White House, ‘Do you think you can make the kind of meals that the Carters are going to enjoy?’” President Carter tells Oprah. “And their response was, ‘Yeah, we’ve been cooking that kind of meal for the servants for the last 20 years.’”

Whether a visitor hailed from south Alabama or the South of France, they were often treated to a heaping bowl of grits, baked with cheese, during visits to Carter’s White House during the breakfast hour.  Other favorites of the 39th President are cornbread and sirloin steak.

Cheese Grits Casserole

2 1/4 cups whole milk

2 1/4 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup quick-cooking grits

1 (8 ounce) package processed cheese (such as Velveeta), cubed

1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, cubed

1/4 cup butter

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Butter a 9 x 12-inch baking dish.
  2. Bring milk, water, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan; gradually sprinkle grits into the boiling liquid, stirring to combine.
  3. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir processed cheese, sharp Cheddar cheese, butter, and garlic powder into grits, stirring until cheese has melted.
  5. Let the mixture stand until cooled, about 15 minutes.  Stir beaten eggs into grits; transfer to prepared baking dish.
  6. Bake in preheated oven until the top is lightly golden brown and the grits are set, about 45 minutes.

Yield:  10 servings

I will wrap up this blog series next Friday!  Have a great weekend!

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