Mary Morony, Author of Apron Strings, Done Growed Up and If It Ain't One Thing

Garlic Problems

collard greensEthel loved collards greens though she had garlic problems. She would eat them every day if she could. Give her a ham hock and passel of collard greens and the woman could create heaven on earth. Although she was an excellent cook, she had the potential to be a superior one. Unfortunately, for Ethel, her prejudices got in her way. There just some things she couldn’t abide.
Garlic was one. She had no reasonable answer for why she didn’t like the stuff but dislike she did. Ginny, on the other hand, had recently discovered that she adored garlic. She had Ethel add it to every recipe she could think of. Since Ethel could bring her lunch from home when the offensive allium was present in the leftover from the night, she didn’t mind it, except for the loathsome smell. Everyone in the house reeked of the stuff. But it was not lost on her that the children never failed to remark “how good” dinner smelled when she had grudgingly added garlic to a dish.
One morning Ethel proudly brought from home a beautiful bunch of collards picked that morning. She knew that Miz Ginny appreciated it when she shared her garden’s bounty. The collards was an extra special gift since the greens were among Ethel’s favorites. She had a ham hock in the icebox and was preparing to create her special dish for the family when Ginny came into the kitchen.
“Why Ethel, collards!” she exclaimed clapping her hands together. “I know you must have read my mind. Thank you so much.”
Ethel nearly popped from delight at Ginny’s response to her offering. “I knew you liked collards an’ I’ve been savin’ dis here ham hock fo’ jest such a meal.”
Ginny disappeared to return moments later with a strip of newspaper. “I just saw this recipe in the paper.” She handed Ethel a scrap of newsprint. “Could you make them like this?” As she saw Ethel’s face fall, she hastily added, “It’s not like I don’t love the way you make collards, but you know how much I love garlic. Doesn’t it sound delicious?”
“You want me t’ put garlic in collards? Miz Ginny, I jest doan think you is gonna like it. I know I ain’t.”
“How can you tell if you haven’t tried it?” Ginny wanted to know.
“Sounds like a terrible thang t’ do, but if you want me t’ I’ll do it.” She sighed deeply.
“Won’t you try it and see what you think? It could be delicious.” Ginny chirped aware of Ethel’s disappointment. “Never mind, I see you already have a ham hock so go ahead and make the collards the way you always do. I don’t know what I was thinking. You can’t improve on perfection.”
Ethel glancing at the recipe allowed that she liked the addition of the tomatoes. Otherwise, the recipe was, “might near close is how I make it ‘cept a course de ham hock. Maybe I’ll put a little garlic in jest to see.” She gave Ginny a wink.


2 pounds collards cleaned, de-ribbed and torn into big pieces.
4 tomatoes peeled and chopped
½ cup of apple cider vinegar
1-2 cloves chopped garlic

*Ham hock optional

Fill large saucepan half full of cold water add collards, cover and bring to a boil. Add salt. Simmer for a good ten minutes until tender. Drain put on a cutting board and chop finely. Return to cleaned saucepan to reheat. Add tomatoes vinegar and garlic.


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