During the holidays I usually eat dinner at my grandmother’s house. She always has a huge dinner spread, as usual, with something for everyone. A little history on my grandmother…
My grandmother is the reason I gained an interest in cooking. I was a picky eater and because of that, my mom told me to make my own food. Once I got the hang of it, my grandmother fueled the fire. Grandma’s kitchen always had some of the most interesting ingredients and tools. I always wanted to help in the kitchen, but then I became more involved with the prep of the meal.
Ok, so back to last Christmas’ dinner. My grandma’s menu was:
- Roasted Quail
- Standing Rib Roast with Gravy
- Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes
- Collard Greens
- Lima Beans
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Biscuits and Cornbread
We pulled out the best china and talked about family past, random experiences, and laughed. The food was good and the company was great!
So, when going back home I of course got some leftovers to take with me. Now, I tasted all the food except the lima beans and quail. There was a lot on my plate. At home, I reheated the greens and roast with gravy and stuffing. The collard greens were the best I’d ever had!
I had to call my grandmother and ask her where she got the greens from. She told me a story about a farm she got vegetables and fruits from through the summer season who was too busy towards the end of the season. So she talked to the owner and asked if she could just come at the end of the season when the garden is pretty much empty. The owner agreed and after the first frost my grandma said she went with her machete and my grandfather and got about a bushel of collard greens.
The funny thing about this is, my grandmother is a sick woman with a lot of bone issues and wears braces for her legs and back. So the fact that she wanted these greens bad enough to prepare for the holidays is simply dedication.
The knowledge my grandmother gave me about this endeavor is that when she got the greens from the ground after the frost, they were still somewhat frozen. So when she got home, she cleaned them and froze them properly until she was ready to use them. The frost froze the greens when the season ended and that preserved them, so pretty much made the greens more tender. These greens melted in your mouth. So tender and flavorful. Not bitter or tough.
I always learn something new from my grandma. Go get your greens after the first frost. Much like life, you have to wait for the right time to get something. Just because you want it when it’s ‘in’ it may not be the right time for you. Random lessons from gardening/food has about life.