Sure, I eat collard greens

“Collard greens are a staple vegetable in Southern U.S. cuisine. They are often prepared with other similar green leaf vegetables, such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, and mustard greens in the dish called “mixed greens”. Typically used in combination with collard greens are smoked and salted meats (ham hocks, smoked turkey drumsticks, smoked turkey necks, pork neckbones, fatback or other fatty meat), diced onions, vinegar, salt, and black pepper, white pepper, or crushed red pepper, and some cooks add a small amount of sugar. Traditionally, collards are eaten on New Year’s Day, along with black-eyed peas or field peas and cornbread, to ensure wealth in the coming year. Cornbread is used to soak up the “pot liquor”, a nutrient-rich collard broth. Collard greens may also be thinly sliced and fermented to make a collard sauerkraut that is often cooked with flat dumplings.” Wikipedia 

If you grow up in the South, sooner or later you’ taste collard greens. I love them, just as I also love spinach and mustard greens. My mother never cooked them because she grew up in the midwest and was familiar with midwestern foods. I always wanted to try new things and was the first (and only) person in the family to become addicted to boiled peanuts and stalks of sugar cane we chewed while walking down the street.

My wife who, unlike me, was born in the South, doesn’t like collard greens. So I buy mine at the store in cans. Dump the stuff out of a can, heat them on the stovetop, and they’re ready to eat. The same does for Hoppin John which, you guessed it, my wife doesn’t like either. It’s a nice mix of black-eyed peas, pork, and onions.

I like most Southern goods except for crawfish.

A lot of people make fun of Southern food, especially grits. I don’t understand that and figure most of the people making fun of grits have never shrimp and grits, a great low country dish. That goes well with a side of collards.

Plus, no matter what people say, the best fried chicken comes from the South.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the Florida Folk Magic Series set in the Florida Panhandle of the 1950s.


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