Sitting here thinking about Thanksgiving and reminiscing about my mom’s collard greens. The love that my mom put into her food showed because empty plates and pots didn’t lie and your stomach smiled on how good it was.
Cooking in a black home is serious if you can’t cook you are not allowed in the kitchen and holidays is not the time for amateurs. Holidays are when your relatives come from miles around to eat and be merry so if you burn the turkey, ham, greens, or sweet potato pies, you are banned forever!!
My mom was never one to share her recipes or give you a cooking lesson because to her it was a secret that she only passed on when you got a family; so I was honored when she showed me how to cut up collard greens and cook them.
I was scared as heck but my mom spoke calmly and walked me through each step. It was finally my turn to cut up my first bunch of greens. As I carefully took off the leaves and discarded the stems I finely cut them up. I could see the smile on my mom’s face. My heart was all warm inside because I knew she was proud.
“Wash them” she said in a low voice “you want to remove all the dirt and grit don’t be scared of your food” As I washed them and transferred them to a pot she nudged me to start simmering my neck bones to add to the greens later.
When my greens finally finished cooking my mom grabbed a fork and slowly picked up a few collards to taste. My heart was beating and I had sweat forming in places I didn’t know could sweat, LOL! It seems like she chewed for hours even though she didn’t.
As my mom looked up at me she smiled she said “you did great, they are not as good as mine but the more you cook them you will get there.” I yelled liked I had lost my mind “YES I can cook collard greens for Thanksgiving!” My mom looked at me smiling and said “not this year baby you still an amateur!!!!”