If all the snow and cold has got you down, then all I can say is, it’s a good thing you live in the South. Not just because we have fewer wintry days here but also because we have a good cure for the blues, growing all around us: greens.
There’s a scientific reason why leafy green vegetables help keep away the blues. High folate concentrations, reduced homocysteine levels, better neuro functions, blah, blah, blah. (Do you really want to know? You can read a pretty good explanation of how high-folate foods like greens improve mental function and mood here
.) But here’s another, much simpler reason:
• Greens taste good, in an earthy, nurturing kind of way.
• Collards grow in this season, in this climate—snow or no snow—in this soil (yes, there’s soil underneath that concrete you’re standing on).
• When you eat greens, you feel wholesome, nourished, cared for by Mother Earth—or maybe just Mother, if she cooked them for you. And that lifts your spirits, doesn’t it?
As my own understanding of food grows, and my personal relationship with food—what I choose to eat, where I choose to buy it, who I prefer to grow it, and how I choose to prepare it—evolves and matures, I keep coming back to the profound simplicity of this statement: Nature provides. And you can add to that a corollary: Our food culture enhances. (We’re talking heirloom culture here. Our current food culture, the one that’s associated with factory packaging, refrigerated trucks and drive-thrus, doesn’t count.)
In other words, nature provides cold-hardy greens like collards when our bodies seem to need them the most. And our grandmothers knew to prepare them, just like she knew to prepare other winter staples such as beets and dried beans—also high-folate foods, it turns out.
Grandma didn’t need a website to tell her why she should cook greens for her family. Neither do we. Eat your greens. You’ll feel better.
Here’s a recipe.