Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Making Collard Greens

I used to tell stories. I know it. I've been reading my old posts a lot the past few days. There was background. There was color. There were characters. There were plot twists.

Somewhere, I left that. I think I decided I need to post more than I needed to write.

WRONG.

I wrote a 75-page autobiographical thesis at age 17. Spent a summer on a mountain answering the Socratic method's basic tenet. "Know thy self."

I can do it again.

I remember. I remember Wayne talking about cookouts. I remember the 'you can't do that' challenge. Somewhere between stools one and five at the pub, a cultural gauntlet was thrown down. And I decided I could make collard greens and black-eyed peas.

After a few days of research, I decided on a course of action. I would take the recipe of another dude who looked liked me, channel my inner 86-year-old-black-grandmother, and pray.

It worked.

I have been "the guy who makes the greens" since then.

Wayne took a bite of my greens. Then a bite of my black-eyed peas. Then he looked at me. Then he called his momma.

I don't know that I've ever been that proud.

I also don't know that I've ever had a singular moment in the kitchen like that.

It was one of the first moments when I received kitchen-respect.

I remembered how I did it with great precision...so I could do it again.

I have made collard greens many times. Dozens of times over the past few years.

Here's what happened today.

Trimming the Stems



Chopping the Greens



Chopping the Garlic



Putting it All in the Pot



Everybody's in the Pool



Chopping Mr. Ham Hock



Finis

You don't need to see the final pot for two reasons.

One, I've shown you what happens right up until that moment.

Two, I didn't take a picture, so DEAL; this was as much inner voyage to remember why I started this blog as it was any one recipe.

If you're lucky...and only if you're lucky...I'll take this attention to detail again soon.

2 comments:

Emily said...

I know it isn't traditional, but is there something that could be substituted for the ham hock? There is something about the word "hock" that makes me not want it in my food . . .

redneck muppet said...

Sure. It's a smoky meat flavor you're looking for (and a background one at that), so bacon or just ham steak works fine too. And there are lots of recipes that call for bacon instead of ham hocks.

Just add chopped bacon to the pan before the onion, omit some of the oil, and start the onions when the bacon's halfway cooked.

You CAN make it vegetarian too. But I'm not that guy.