Friday, February 17, 2012

Southern Style

In the latest issues of Bon Appetit magazine, they are featuring Southern cooking. Because I didn't grow up in the South, I have been woefully ignorant of this kind of cooking.

This has nothing to do with a certain celeb TV chefess who espouses high fat, high sugar cooking, then cleans up with the drug companies by endorsing diabetes drugs.

This is down-home good cooking from generations of people who made the highest and best use of ingredients available to them. Several of the recipes spoke to me but one in particular called my name, Potlikker Noodles with Mustard Greens.

Reading a little about potlikker (pot liquor) taught me that it is high in Vitamin C and that some people actually sip it as a cure for the common cold. Me, I just loved it for the taste. In fact, I considered making enough to bathe in, it was so good. I halved the recipe since there are only two of us and changed the mustard greens to Swiss chard because I had the chard in the fridge.

Now, usually My Beloved and I have very similar tastes in food; this dinner was the exception. He felt the greens were too bitter for the dish - he pushed his aside. He usually likes Swiss chard, so that's a puzzle.

For myself, I thought it was so delicious that I'd have served it proudly to company. The rich goozle of the pot liquor was out of this world, lightly salty from the ham hock and rich with onion and the stewed stems of the greens. Shredding the meaty part of the ham hock and adding crisped bacon to the wide noodles and slightly bitter greens made me slow down, carefully taste and savor. And I'm not embarrassed to admit that I tipped up my bowl to slurp up the last few drops of that amazing goozle.

It's a homey dish, warm and filling and full of goodness. I found myself cooking more of this kind of food this year while we helped to support our next door neighbor and his wife while they adjusted to his mortality. This kind of comfort helps to get through tough times. He was a fine neighbor and a good man - his tragedy brings up the question, "Why him?"

Even if you aren't in need of that kind of solace, this is a lovely dish and well worth the extra time it takes to make it.


Blogger Kailyn said...

I have been fascinated with this latest issue of Bon Appetit. In fact I was wondering about this very recipe. Glad to hear that it was as good as it sounds.

Friday, February 17, 2012  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

My Bon Appetit subscription, subbing for the murdered Gourmet, finally ran out, and I didn't see this issue.
Thanks for the inspiration. I've never had my greens with noodles!
Try it again with mustard greens; they are mild and get very silky-soft.
Oh, and the pot likker? It's high in iron, too. Women have dibs on it.

Friday, February 17, 2012  
Blogger kudzu said...

I never had greens with noodles, either, but I've certainly had my share of potlikker. Amused at your man's thinking chard was bitter; we use(d) collards, mustard and turnip greens -- all pretty staunch. A favorite way of eating the potlikker was in a bowl, piping hot, with hot cornbread broken up into chunks, added to it. Good wintertime food for supper.

Friday, February 17, 2012  
Blogger Greg said...

I'll have to get over to the library and check the recipe out. Sure as heck looks wonderful!

Friday, February 17, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kailyn, well worth doing. It was delicious!

Cookiecrumb, I'd have to fight him for his share. He loved it, too.

Kudzu, see, you know these things, having grown up south of the Mason-Dixon line. Thanks for the tip.

Greg, you can just print it from their wbsite. Follow my link!

Friday, February 17, 2012  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Greens and starch = a good old Southern tradition. I see that kudzu has posted here before me but let me second the notion of greens and corn bread. I have also served greens with grilled fish - and if you are feeling really decadent, folded into mashed potatoes. I remember reading about an experiment in the 1930's (I think) about rickets. When people ate regular food (white bread, etc), they got rickets When they ate good old fashioned Southern food (mostly invented by black slaves) which included greens and the pot liquor, yams, cornbread made with coarsely ground corn meal, they didn't get rickets. So, drink that broth and avoid rickets. I know that it's an ever present danger across the bay (sorry, pathetic joke).

Saturday, February 18, 2012  
Blogger kudzu said...

Zoomie and Nancy: In her newspaper column in the Forties, my grandmother fussed mightily about all the attention being paid to taking vitamin supplements. She claimed, and (now we know) rightly so, that if people ate home-grown regional foods they were getting proper nutrition.

Saturday, February 18, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, I'd drink it for the taste alone, but it's nice to know I'm staging off rickets and other dread diseases at the same time.

Kudzu, in your mother's day, that was likely true. These days, however, what with industrial farming and depleted soils, it may not be as true. That's just another reason why I try to eat as your Mom likely would have - local, seasonal, and organic. Who wants a pill when y ou can have really good, nutritious food?

Saturday, February 18, 2012  

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