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Sharper Knives Safer in the Kitchen than Dull Ones

We've mentioned that a dull knife is a dangerous one, and discussed how to properly sharpen a knife or use a water stone in the past. Still, why exactly is a dull knife more dangerous than a sharper one? Plus, honing is easy with a 10" chef's knife—how do you keep your paring knives sharp? This video from the America's Test Kitchen answers both questions, and shows you how to test to see if your knives are ready to use.

In the video, Lisa and Bridget from America's Test Kitchen explain that dull knives require more force to use and press through the food you're cutting, which means you're more likely to lose control of the knife if something happens that you don't expect. Then they use a simple test with a sheet of paper to determine if their paring knife is sharp enough to be used. It fails, and they bring out the Test Kitchen's favorite electric sharpener to get it back into shape.

Some knife aficionados will tell you never to sharpen with anything less than a water stone or a honing steel, but doing so with small knives can be difficult. On the other hand, tabletop sharpeners are inexpensive and get the job done nicely. Check out the video for more tips on taking care of small knives, and a few bonus skill tips for handling small blades.


Okra Fritters and Grits and Groceries Favorite

GRITS and GROCERIES: Real food, done real good

Okra Fritters

½ cup cornmeal
½ cup All Purpose Flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp Creole Seasoning (available at Grits and Groceries)
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup grated onion
2 cups sliced okra
Oil for frying

Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix together the egg, buttermilk and onion. Stir in dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in okra. Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium heat and drop batter by the tablespoon full. Cook like pancakes until golden brown on both sides.  Serve with sour cream.


Grits and Groceries' Louisiana Beer-B-Que Shrimp

Louisiana Beer-B-Que Shrimp

Yield: 8 servings


5 lbs jumbo shrimp

1 T. Low Country Seasoning (available at

1 c Louisiana Beer-B-Que Sauce (available at )

½ lb butter

4 c white mushrooms, halved

1 can beer, preferably malt liquor

Salt and pepper, to taste

¼ c finely chopped fresh parsley


Season shrimp with Low Country Seasoning. Combine sauce and butter in

a large sauté pan or saucepan over medium heat and cook until butter

melts, stirring to combine. Add the shrimp, mushrooms and beer, stir

to combine and then cover. Cook until shrimp are pink and firm, about

10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grits,

rice or mashed potatoes. Garnish with parsley. This is a play on the

New Orleans dish of barbecue shrimp. I decided that we had to make it

in a South Carolina Style – so, I started using my Carolina – inspired

Beer-B-Que Sauce.

Yield: 8 servings

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Crispy Breaded Pork Chops with Milk Gravy

For a full video of this recipe visit here.


  • 4 Pork Chops (I prefer thicker, boneless ones but you can use whatever type you like)
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers
  • 2 eggs
  • Milk Gravy
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease (optional but sure is good)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups milk


  1. Place vegetable oil to a depth of about 1/4 of an inch in a large heavy bottomed skillet. Place over medium high heat while you prepare the pork chops.
  2. Crush saltines and place in a shallow bowl or plate (I use pie plates). Beat eggs and pour into bowl.
  3. Dip each pork chop in eggs on both sides, then press both sides down into cracker crumbs.
  4. Reduce oil temperature to medium. Add in pork chops to hot oil. Cook until browned on both sides (will need to turn) until completely done and no longer pink in the center.
  5. Remove to paper towel lined plate.
  6. For the Gravy
  7. Pour the bacon grease into a medium skillet over medium heat. Add flour and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until flour begins to brown. Slowly pour in the milk while stirring constantly with wire whisk to break up any lumps. Lower heat to low and continue cooking and stirring until gravy thickens. If you prefer a thinner gravy, add more milk. Serve over mashed potatoes, pork chops, biscuits, and anything else you can come up with!

Recipe Courtesy of the


Hattie Mae's Tomato Pie

Hattie Mae’s Tomato Pie (from Grits and Groceries)

Yield: 6 servings

4 sliced tomatoes

1 9-inch pie shell, chilled

1 c. finely diced onions

½ cup chopped fresh herbs, such as tarragon, oregano, parsley, basil

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1 c. mayonnaise

1 c. grated cheddar cheese

-Preheat oven 350 degrees

Place tomatoes on a cookie sheet and season with salt. Allow to sit for a few minutes until some of their water is drawn out. Rinse under cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel. Lay one-third of tomatoes in pie shell. Top with half of the onions, one-third of the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Combine remaining herbs with mayonnaise and cheese in a small bowl. Spread this mixture on top of the pie. Bake until golden brown. 



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