Ok, First I should start by saying I was born and raised in the south. That being said, I *think* I don't like grits. Admittedly, it is one of those things I tried as a child and hated so I haven't tried it since. But, I absolutely LOVE polenta, and make it once every week or two. I have heard that grits and polenta are basically the same thing, so I feel like I should probably give grits another try. But I thought I'd try to get my information straight first, and I know there are a lot of knowledgeable people here, so here I am. Is there a difference between grits and polenta, and if so, what is it?
Also, when I make polenta I use corn meal. The same corn meal I use when I make corn bread. Many polenta recipes I have seen call for corn meal, although some call for polenta. Is there a difference? I had a friend over for dinner recently who had never eaten polenta before. When she watched me make it and learned it was just cooked corn meal she accused me (good naturedly) of trying to trick her. Is there a difference between corn meal and polenta, and if so, what is it?