One of the first food gifts the American Indians gave to the colonists, hominy is dried white or yellow corn kernels from which the hull and germ have been removed. This process is done either mechanically or chemically by soaking the corn in slaked lime or lye. Hominy is sold canned, ready-to-eat or dried (which must be reconstituted before using). It's commonly served as a side dish or as part of a casserole. When dried hominy is broken or very coarsely ground it's called samp. When ground, it's called hominy gritsor simply and usually comes in three grindsfine, medium and coarse. Hominy grits are generally simmered with water or milk until very thick. The mixture can be served in this mushlike form or chilled, cut into squares and fried. In the South, grits are served as a side dish for breakfast or dinner.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.