The Green Grocer: I couldn’t write about this if we were in the South



A few weeks ago I did something spectacularly risky, but I lived to tell the tale, so here it is:

I was invited to a potluck right here in Minnesota, and I didn’t bring bars, hot dish, or lutefisk — I brought collard greens and black-eyed peas. That’s right, that was me. In the South such an act wouldn’t even warrant an article, but here in Minnesota I knew full well that my dish was likely to be met with confusion, alarm, and distrust — and I did it anyway. The thing is, it’s a really delicious dish. (And I had another potluck to go to the very next day, so I figured I’d have plenty of leftovers to bring to that one. But don’t tell anyone that.)

So was I being inconsiderate? Selfish? A little disgraceful? Probably. But by golly can you believe the entire cast-iron skillet went! (And thank goodness it did! There was an actual honest-to-goodness Southerner at this potluck — something I obviously did not anticipate — and I would have been mortified had he tasted this Northerner’s version of a Southern delicacy!)

What was that? Oh, you want to know what happened the next day. Well, I was forced to throw together a rather boring green salad with whatever I had on hand. (Trust me, you won’t be getting that recipe.)

But you want to know something else? Not only did my collards go, but at potluck #1 there was not a single dessert, and potluck #2 had an entire table of really great salads. I have to say I was proud of us all for bringing healthy, delicious food to share with each other! Way to go potluckers!

A Northerner’s Version of Collards and Black-Eyed Peas


• 2-3 tablespoons butter

• 1 large onion, chopped

• 3 cloves garlic, chopped

• 2 bunches collard greens, chopped (or Swiss chard or kale, I suppose)

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas

• Hot sauce, crushed red pepper, and/or white vinegar (optional)


Melt butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring here and there, for about five minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for one minute.

Add greens and continue to cook until they are soft, at least a half hour. Add more butter if needed and season with salt and pepper. (Most authentic recipes call for the greens to be stewed in a broth. That way is very tasty as well.)

When greens are soft and wilted, add the cooked black-eyed peas to the skillet to warm. Add more salt and pepper if needed, or season with hot sauce, crushed red pepper and/or a few dashes of white vinegar.


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