Lumpy Grits: A Literary and Lyrical Mix is an independent performing arts group based in Shreveport. Members of the collective, who refer to themselves as “Gritonians,” are likely to be poets, musicians, dancers, or community organizers – or some mixture of all of those things. The group will host their first Citywide Shrimp and Grits Cook-Off at Red River Brewing Co., 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 22. Like the Battle of the Gumbo Gladiators, which benefits Volunteers for Youth Justice, the Citywide Grits Cook-Off asks that competing teams pay to register and the voting public pay to cast votes for the winner.
Proceeds raised at the Citywide Grits Cook-Off will help fund the group’s upcoming trips to Montgomery, Ala. and New Orleans, La., where they’ll be performing their recent adaptation of the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata. The cost to enter for cooking teams is $50 (deadline is Sept. 8) and admission is free for the public, with voting packages ranging from $5 to $20 available for purchase at the door. Home cooks and professional chefs are both encouraged to take part in the cook-off, which will include seafood and non-seafood categories.
Event organizer Cherie Gray told me that the word “grit” has two meanings to the Lumpy Grits crew: First, it is the Southern food staple that can be endlessly modified to suit any taste; second, it represents the toughness and determination that they embody onstage.
“For us, ‘grit’ means the struggle of the artist to push through,” Gray said. “Gritonians are able to adapt to any stage. That’s what having grit means. You’ve got to be able to adjust and think on your feet.”
The event on Sept. 22 will also include live entertainment from Lumpy Grits during the cooking competition. Guests are encouraged to bring cash to purchase voting packages. If you or someone you know would like to register to compete in the Citywide Grits Cook-Off, the registration form is here.