I love food. There is no time or way to explain the reason why. It is like breathing. I think. All I know is that food is great.
Just What Are Collard Greens?
collard plants are cultivated for food crops due to their large, dark-green, edible leaves. They are indigenous mainly in Brazil, Portugal, Zimbabwe, the southern United States, Tanzania and Kenya as well as the Balkans, Italy, northern Spain, and Kashmir. Delicious collard greens are known to be aten for at least 2000 years. The evidence is shown that the ancient Greeks grew several types of collards, as well as kale.
Let me start by saying that I know that many in our society frown upon the plant, collard greens, but I can assure you that just bccause they were grown and cooked in the early south does not signify that only the poor enjoyed them. No. Many people in an upper station cooked and enjoyed them as well. The same can be said in 2020. I am very proud to say that I am one of them.
Now for the time that I spent in our front yard in 1959. Sparing you most of the details, my family and I were not considered poor, but we were not the richest folks in our locale: Marion County, Alabama. My dad did share-cropping and my mom was an excellent homemaker and if you wanted to insult her, all you had to do was tell her how much better our house would look if she did this or that. Mom did not leave a stone turned. From every dish and utensil, our home was spic and span.
Our Front Yard Was a Magic Place
for me. My sister attended high school in Hamilton, Ala., rode the school bus and all. My dad worked in his fields and mom managed our home very well. What did I do? Play outside allowing my imagination run wild. That can be considered wild or tame. Either way, I had fun.
Except for that one Thursday afternoon. I shall never forget it. Fact is, that afternoon is still welded into my memory banks and I would not trade them for a shiny Rolls Royce.
I was running around playing with my pet dogs, "Frank," and "Button," and like people say, things were okay with the world and heaven. Then it happened. I've always thought that it was a magical moment. It couldn't have bean planned no better.
I was coming around the house and it hit me. That delicious, scrumptious aroma which froze me in my tracks. My taste buds instantly perked-up. I just had to know what was going on in our house. I ran to the back door that led to our kitchen and asked my mom what that wonderful smell was. She laughed and said it was collard greens cooking for our supper.
Up to that time, I never knew what (a) collard green was. But that evening when I was blessed with my first bite of them, I went on a quick journey to Heaven. I am completely-serious. I only wish that all of you could have been there. And that night at supper there were no collard greens, cornbread, white onions, or green garden pepper left. It was all consumed by my dad and me. But mom did not get left-out and she shared a new recipe that she found on how to make collard greens more tasty. She was sure right.
How Momma Prepared Her
collard greens. Please do not think that the method is exotic. Momma was a southern gal through and through. From her cathead biscuits to her collard greens, she was was very humble, hard-workng and her word was law. If she said something she would or wouldn't do, she meant it. There was no use arguing with her.
Do you recall those now-antique black iron pots? Those you can fill what what you want to cook and stick it on your woodstove, or nowadays, electric or gas stove. Momma preferred the woodstove. And man, am I glad!
She cut-up her collard greens then washed them a couple of times and placed them in her iron pot, but did not pack them, but just let them lay loose. She never said why. I guess that was just one of her cooking secrets.
She swore by ham hocks. She loved to prepare them which tells you that I came from an all-country background. Momma would cut-up a few pieces of the ham hock and drizzle a little salt and sugar into the mixture and then place the pot on the rest and forgot it. While she did her other chores, she would check on the collard greens from time to time and if she did not call for supper, do not go asking a lot of questions for her to answer.
It Was The Aroma
that did it. Like me, if I were in 30 feet of that kitchen and she put on a pot of collard greens, I would know it by the delicious aroma. And frankly, I did my share of following that aroma for many years and you can believe thsi or not. This started in 1959 and today it is 2020 and I am 66. And I still love collard greens with a passion.
You can try-out this
Collard Greens Recipe. Have Fun!
Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes Yield: Serves 4
We use bacon fat here primarily for flavor. Bacon fat provides an excellent balance to the natural bitter of the collard greens. That said, you can easily skip the bacon fat and just use a little more olive oil.
⦁ 2 teaspoons bacon fat
⦁ 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
⦁ 2 tablespoons onion, chopped
⦁ 1 large garlic clove, minced
⦁ 2 pounds (900 g) collard greens, tough stems discarded, leaves chopped
⦁ 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil (Dynasty or comparable brand)
⦁ Chili pepper flakes, a pinch
⦁ Salt, a couple pinches
⦁ Sugar, a couple pinches
November 22, 2020_______________________________________
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© 2020 Kenneth Avery
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 23, 2020:
My childhood was spent in Wisconsin, and collard greens were not normally served or eaten back then. As you wrote, it was more common in the south. Thanks for sharing your memories, and for your recipe. The sesame oil and bacon fat added to the greens sounds good.
peachy from Home Sweet Home on November 23, 2020:
This is a great dish for those who are on diet or planning to slim down
Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on November 23, 2020:
Liz Westwood from UK on November 22, 2020:
Thanks for sharing your memories. This looks like a tasty and extremely healthy dish. It reminds me a little of spinach and cabbage.