Polenta, essentially, is cornmeal mush—but what delicious cornmeal mush it is! If you've never made it, don't be intimidated—it's actually quite simple to master.
There are several ways to avoid lumps. Either add the polenta all at once to cold water and whisk it in vigorously; or adopt the traditionalist method—sift the polenta into boiling, salted water through your fingers, whisking all the while. Either way, to keep a creamy texture and prevent a prevent a crust from forming, continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the polenta begins to boil.