To welcome my mama back to the States (she's been in Italy taking cooking and Italian classes, tra-la), I decided she needed some food which celebrates our Appalachian roots. That's a lie. I was just craving some beans, and didn't want to eat the whole pot by myself. Scott Peacock talked about soup beans in this months Better Homes and Gardens, and I'd thought I would give his take a whirl. He stayed at the Beach Barn once. I got there right after his stay, hoping for shelves filled with Tupperware full of leftovers from all his cooking. My hopes were dashed. He mainly ate out.
Moving on. Beans, greens, and cornbread remind me a lot of dinners with me and mama, when Brother and Daddy weren't around. Although they like it.
Not as much as my maternal grandfather though. He ate lots of beans, greens and cornbread. Papa Bruce was a doctor, and believed that a big bowl of greens would cure whatever ailed you.
So for the beans, get a hunk of country ham. I'm lucky to have Benton's right down the road, so I used that.
Next, chop an onion. I like a rough chop
since my eyes were watering so bad I could not see for ten minutes, because it's a rustic dish.
Sauté the onion and a couple clove of garlic in some olive oil until they are soft.
Add the tomatoes and cook for about fifteen minutes.
My grandfather's farm in Cades Cove.
While the tomatoes and beans are simmering away, start your greens. Put a couple cups of chicken broth in a big pot, and bring to a boil with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
Add your greens. I prefer collards, but it's really a matter of personal preference. Now you no longer have to go through the rigmarole of washing all the sand off the greens. You can just buy a bag of greens in the salad section. Maybe not as farm to table, but it sure is convenient.
Add about a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of baking soda to the greens. The baking soda makes them sooo tender. Now, I was going to be good, and make heart healthy greens with no meat. But I had this hunk of country ham just staring at me, dying to make good pot likker with these greens. I acceded to the ham's wishes, chopped it up, and added it to the pot.
My mama and her mama in the garden.
Mama made cornbread and brought it over. I can't make cornbread for the life of me. Mine always turns out off.
My brother and Papa Bruce, my grandfather, on the farm.
Then we ate.
Just like how my great-great-great grandparents ate.