I promised that I had only one more “Steph Cooks New Things” entry before taking a hiatus, but this last one had significance because it was a part of a New Year celebration. I figured I needed all of the luck and prosperity I could get in 2010, so I was already planning on eating the traditional New Year’s Day meal of beans and greens.
Not only was I going to eat these things, though, I was going to make them myself.
My friend Bug was hosting a “New Year’s Day Watch football/Veg out/Be hungover party.” She said she’d make Hoppin’ John (the beans) and asked me, for Day 96's thing I've never done before, to make collard greens.
For a lot of southerners, eating and making collard greens comes second nature. I did not grow up in a southern household, however, as both of my parents grew up in Ohio. I’m not sure either of them eats collards, much less knows how to make them.
But it can’t be that hard, right? An enormous amount of collard greens (4 pounds, actually) and a big pot and I was on my way.
While I was cooking, I told my friend Lisa about my New Years Day plans and she sounded grossed out. “Why aren't the things that bring us good luck and prosperity in the New Year things like potato chips and candy,” she asked me.
I don't know, Lisa. That is an excellent question.
Maybe, I thought, it’s because most people are trying to eat healthy at the start of a new year. Beans and greens certainly are better choices for those who have set “losing weight” or “eat healthier” as their New Year’s resolutions than candy or potato chips.
Only not really, because when I made greens, the recipe I used called for at least a pound of fatty salt pork in the mix of the greens. I don't think that what nutritionists would say is the best way to kick start a successful diet plan, but it’s the pork (read: fat) that makes the collard greens taste good.
It’s also the salt pork that nearly caused me to get sick while preparing the dish. A long night of partying followed by cutting raw meat is not a good combination. I could get sick right now just thinking about it, actually.
I powered through and successfully made an obscene amount of collard greens. And though I was slow moving, I successfully made it over to Bug and Sean’s house to share them with the group.
Bug’s Hoppin’ John was delicious. And so were my greens.
Here’s to lots of prosperity and good luck in 2010!
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