Humans of Buckhead: “Everybody was laughing, and I went ‘Oh no, I’m getting another idea for a cookbook.’”

“It really kind of started in a funny way because I had an idea to write a popcorn cookbook many years ago, and the first TV show I ever landed to demo the recipes was with Regis and Kathie Lee. I got an opportunity to do a kind of morning cooking show in Los Angeles, so I went out there and the night before the show my husband and I had dinner at a sushi bar in Hollywood and the server just being goofy said “how do you make your sushi in Atlanta?” and I said “we use grits instead of rice.” Everybody was laughing, and I went “oh no, I’m getting another idea for a cookbook.” It was not a good thing, I had just spent eight months making the cookbook on popcorn. 

I’m not from here, I’m from St. Louis, so I wondered if people would accept a grits cookbook from a non-southerner, but I didn’t limit my ideas as I have no preconceived notions whatsoever. I don’t know that you can’t make them in a pecan pie or a jalapeño dip or something, and I think that worked in my favor. I had never had grits before I came south. The book has been great, I have sold over 100,000 copies of it, but people kept saying “honey, I have your book, but I want something I can open up and eat!” One time I was making cheese straws and threw some grits in the batter and made a crispy one and thought, “wow!” so then I found a bakery to bake those and now I have six flavors, I’ve got two sweet ones and four savory ones that I sell in tins or boxes. 

I still sell a lot at the retail stores but also some people buy like 100 boxes of the Grits Bits and give them out as favors mostly or welcome bags at the hotels for their weddings. I do these baskets with assortments like Vidalia onion petals, salsa, a bottle of Coke, and a couple boxes of Grits Bits so that when they come in they’ve got something fun from Georgia to snack on.”

Diane Pfeifer is the author of Gone With The Grits and creator of Grits Bits cheese snack biscuits. Long before she filled 160 pages with inventive grits recipes Diane had a long and interesting career. When in high school she was the lead guitarist in an all-girl rock band called Sweet Young Things, later she was a pharmaceutical chemist, backup singer for Tammy Wynette, country music songwriter who performed at Opryland and recorded over 40 songs that include two Top 15 country singles for Debby Boone, a recording artist with Capitol Records, and a commercial actress and voice-over talent who recorded wrong number messages for the phone company and acted in fast food commercials. Diane has been a resident of Buckhead since 1987 and lives in a contemporary home she describes as a ‘treehouse’ in Peachtree Hills. To learn more about Grits Bits and her cookbook, go to her website, and enjoy this video of Diane performing Perfect Fool on the Bill Tush Show.

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