Southern food can sometimes not look very appetizing. That's what I thought a moment ago as I peered into a large pot of boiling and freshly picked garden turnip greens on Joyce's stove. They were a dull green, swimming in bacon fat, and floating amid dull, sickly brown chunks of artery clogging fatback (salted pork). She had invited me over to look. Joyce was so excited about supper tonight, and so excited about a friend having given her fresh turnip greens. She doesn't cook for others very often. She eats alone like me these days.
"You're coming over tonight for supper, right?" She asked with a cook's Cheshire grin.
"Cornbread?" I replied, growing excited as well.
"And homemade hot sauce for the turnips, and mashed potatoes, too!"
I smiled and gave her a hug. I am unsure about her cooking, but I will be over tonight dressed in nice clothes and with carefully combed hair; eating turnip greens swimming in fiery hot pepper sauce. Spoonfuls of buttery mashed potatoes will follow. Along with bites of crunchy, cast-iron-pan cooked buttermilk cornbread.
They say in the South that the more turnip greens you eat, then the more money you will have. It's a New Year's Day tradition to have turnip greens and black-eyed peas (hoppin' john) for good luck -- a tradition dating back to when Sherman razed the South during the Civil War, and those poverty foods were the only things left to eat. Talk about turning pitiful into positive! I need some money and good luck. I also need some southern-style cooked turnip greens if Joyce's are edible. I hope it will be a culinary and wealth inducing marriage made in heaven tonight. I'm just glad to spend some time with my neighbor and friend. It's the thought that matters.