Wednesday, January 02, 2008

collard greens, party of one.

on new year's day i like to make hoppin' john. you know, black eyed peas for luck and all that.

i also make cheesy grits, and slow simmered greens with ham hocks, and fresh buttermilk biscuits, too.

so a few days ago i needed to go shopping for this feast. i got the black eyed peas in bulk, though for the first time this year i saw them fresh. in fact, two different brands of fresh black eyed peas.

bully marketing effort on someone's part i'd say.

anyhow, the greens i like to get are definitely collard greens and mustard greens. they don't always have these kinds, so i was happy to see them. my store always has kale, which i LOVE, but not as a slow simmered green. i like kale better lightly steamed, or lightly sauteed instead.

so i've got my greens and the rest of my ingredients and i'm in the checkout line. the woman behind me sees my collard greens as she's unloading her cart and asks

"what are those?"

"those are collard greens"

"what do you do, cook them?"



"do you eat them?"

double ??

"um, yeah. though by the time they're done cooking they don't look much like this"


now, if you haven't ever seen collard greens they can probably seem weird. huge, too huge for a bag, and wide, and flat, and dark green. oh and generally dirty. mud on the stems, dirt on the leaves. they definitely aren't for those who like their produce cleaned, trimmed, and vacuum packed.

so the checker is scanning my items and grabs the collard greens and asks

"what are these?"


"collard greens"



so then i'm swiping my card and these older woman comes up and taps me on the shoulder and..

(okay, i have to say i hate being tapped. anywhere on my body. by anybody. it makes me feel like punching someone right away. it comes from being locked in the turkey pen with george the turkey when i was four. while he pecked away. it's a long story that i'm sure i'll regale you with at another time. needless to say, when thanksgiving came around that year i was not sorry to see who was on the menu and in fact ate quite heartily)

so she taps me on the shoulder (i didn't punch her) and i turn around and she says

"my husband wants to know what those are"

and points to my box of grits.

no seriously, what do you think she pointed to!

"those are collard greens"


the husband just had a mildly disgusted look on his face and they moved on.

the bagger, a boy who looked like he was 12 but i'm just old so i think everyone looks like they're 12, had no farkin' clue what to do with the collards so when he got the cart all packed up he stood there holding them with a befuddled look until i relieved him of the collards and just rested them on top of everything.

he didn't offer to help me to my car.

well i took those greens home and a pot of water, a coupla ham hocks, and three hours later they were deeee-licious!

i guess it doesn't matter how big and global the world becomes, most of us still live in the world we were born with.

and that's just fine.

more collards for me.


1 comment:

Veloute said...

I used to get that all the time, not so much since moving here. In some places I felt like I had to identify most of my produce...

However, last week I did have to identify kohlrabi for the cashier and the woman ahead of me in line. I wasn't even buying it; she thought it was "a weird beet". They just stood there gawking at it.

I do remember when I first became acquainted with collards. We hadn't had anything like that growing up and MY! those are indeed some big beautiful leaves.

That sounds like a fine meal and I feel quite hungry now. I could write a whole post about grits.