Before I began writing this, I finished eating a makeshift breakfast of two-and-a-half scrambled eggs mixed with shreds of pork pulled from the leftover ribs of last night’s dinner order. It was a slightly disappointing meal—not because of the taste of the food, but the temperature of it. I sat down to eat it at the same time as a scheduled phone call, and I didn’t touch it until the call was over, 42 minutes later. By then, it had jogged past lukewarm and settled into room temperature, and this made the eating experience less fun than I’d anticipated. Still fun, though.
Anyway, before I pulled the pork off of the ribs and placed them in the same cast iron skillet the eggs were being fried in, I paused for a moment while thinking about the integrity of the rib. This pork, I thought, for a second, was meant to be eaten the way it was prepared and delivered to me, which was on a dozen or so rib bones. But then, a moment later, I stopped thinking that thought. Why? Because it was fucking stupid. If I wanted to eat the pork the way it was prepared and delivered to me, I would’ve eaten the ribs. This morning, however, I did not want to eat ribs. I wanted to eat the pork exactly how I wanted to, and I did that. Because I could. And I could because that’s how food works when you buy it. You can eat it however the hell you want to.
There are many qualities of food that should be considered before eating it—taste, nutritional value, calorie count, malleability, personal religious beliefs, environmental/ethical concerns, whether you plan to fuck later and shouldn’t eat a thing because it makes you gassy, etc. The integrity of eating it a certain way, however, shouldn’t be. Because it doesn’t exist! It’s all in your head! Pancakes, for instance, are usually eaten with syrup. But if ketchup on a pancake has become your thing, eat your weird red pancake! No one gives a shit! (Or should!)
The decision of whether to sprinkle sugar on grits before eating them follows the same edict. Grits discourse and the grit guardians dictating it will tell you that sugar on a grit reaches a Whitlockian level of triflin’ anti-Blackness. They’ll tell you that salt and/or pepper on grits is Malcolm X, and sugar on grits is Malcolm & Marie. These people are wrong and dumb. If you prefer your grits sweet, then you just like the taste of sweet grits in your mouth. That’s it. You could, theoretically, eat them with salt the next time you eat them. And then sugar and salt (and pepper and butter and cheese) the time after that, because you like to party. There are no teams here. No factions. Just food.