Thursday, October 08, 2015

Collard greens

As a kid in upstate New York, I don't remember ever eating collard greens. I had heard about them, but to me they were a southern food, soul food, even. I'll bet they were around, but they were not something my family ever ate. Our greens came in the form of spinach and lettuce (iceberg, mostly).

The variety of collards in our garden this year has a bluish-green tint. They cook and freeze very well.

I first ate greens in the mid-1980s when I lived in Washington, DC. They were regularly available as a side dish in the cafeterias at work and, besides, I lived with a southerner. Ken introduced me to greens (collards, mustard, turnip) and other southern dishes (NC barbecue, black-eyed peas, Brunswick stew, grits) in those first years. Now I can't imagine living without all of those things. Ken makes pork barbecue often, and we eat grits when we can get them (in fact, Italian polenta is very similar, if not exactly the same). Black-eyed peas are readily available here in France as they're a favorite Portuguese bean. We've even made a version of Brunswick stew a time or two. And, of course, we grow greens in our vegetable garden. Over the years we've grown good crops of collards (very hardy), mustard greens (more fragile), and, more recently, kale. Good eats, y'all!


  1. I'll bet the name "collard" greens sounds so much better with a French accent. I never had any until I was in my 20s. Until then, I thought they were "collared" greens.

  2. I know you have mentioned growing and cooking with them many times, but I am not sure if we eat them here or not. I think not, but it seems kale is part of the family and that is certainly eaten here, just not by me to my knowledge. Heavily googling now for what I don't know. Brunswick stew, no. NC barbecue? No, if it is a chopped pork dish. Hipsters here do like pulled pork though, which I consider an absolute wank. Black eyed peas, no. It took some work to find the food among the pop group references. Grits is a fascinating word. I do know what grits are, but I am not fond of corn, which I think is the same as maize. Polenta is quite tasteless and boring. Mustard leaves get chucked into our salads.

    While a friend complains to cafe/hotel/restaurant management about the lack of iceberg lettuce in salads, it seems iceberg is now returning to fashion.

  3. Shrimp and grits, mmmmm. Can't eat most greens anymore, I choke on them too easily. Miss the lovely flavours.

    Andrew, if you like mustard sauce, then there is a type of barbecue you would enjoy tremendously, I think. Barbecue is often made with ribs, brisket, and silverside btw.

  4. Same experience here, having grown up in New Jersey -- never saw (deep) fried chicken or onion rings or biscuits and gravy on a menu, and never ate those kinds of "greens". We're all much more cosmopolitan, now!

  5. They seem to me like what's sold in the UK as "spring greens" (which don't always strike me as the new seasons's leaves as one might imagine them to be).

  6. mitch, "collared" greens! lol

    andrew, North Carolina barbecue is pulled pork with a vinegar and red pepper sauce. Very different from the mustard or tomato based sauces in other barbecues.

    jacqueline, shrimp and grits are some kinda good!

    judy, we had what they called "southern fried chicken" every now and then. And there was always KFC!

    autolycus, yeah, "spring greens" makes me think of mesclun, that mix of young leaves eaten as a salad. Collards are more like cabbage leaves. In fact, they are a type of cabbage that doesn't form heads.


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