Good Friends, Goodbyes, and the Best Greens You’ll Ever Have


I know that most people probably don’t think of collard greens as a part of their holiday table, but for my family they will be made every Thanksgiving from now on. This dish was served last night to our dear friends Mike and Naomia, under threat of bodily injury from N. herself. (Seriously, she threatened me!) The last time I made these greens, M. was out of town, and I was told that he, and all of my readers, needed to try the “best greens she’d ever had”. (High praise for a girl from Mississippi, especially when talking to an Irish boy from California.)

I’m all for special request meals, especially for family and friends. They give me a chance to make something that’s guaranteed to make someone smile, and smile we did, but they were bittersweet at best.

N. was one of the first people my then girlfriend introduced me to when I moved to Texas in 2005. She made me feel welcome in a new place, has always been there with a bright smile and a hug when needed. she was the first person in Texas we told about our engagement and stood at our wedding with as many tears on her ebony face as we had on ours. We were the first to know of her engagement, and were at her wedding as well. We’ve been through a lot together in a short time, but it has been good, all of it.

By the time Naomia reads this entry, she will be with her family for Thanksgiving. From there she will be moving to her new duty station in Japan. When we said goodbye last night, it was for real.

In my life I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. In the military it’s just a fact of life, but it’s rare that someone manages to become such a part of your family’s life that it’s hard to imagine life without them in it.

This is one of those times.

So, Miss Naomia, I wish you well. Remember that no matter where your travels take you, there will always be a plate of greens waiting for you on our holiday table. I’ll even make sure Mike has some rice to go with it. You’re family, and family always has a place in our home.

Oh, and tell your mother we said hello.

Good Friends, Goodbyes, and the Best Greens You'll Ever Have
  • 1 10 oz package frozen collard greens, defrosted.
  • 1 10 oz. package frozen turnip greens, defrosted.
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 4 tbsp. butter.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Defrost greens and squeeze as much water out of them as possible.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic in butter for approximately 2 minutes, or until garlic just browns.
  3. Stir in greens and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, until tender, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat and serve immediately.
  5. Plating:
  6. Plating depends on the manner in which you are serving.
  7. When served with pork chops, I prefer to plate as pictured,with the greens over the chops. It not only looks attractive and tastes wonderful together, but helps to keep the pork moist.
  8. If served as a vegetarian dish, it may be simply placed in a bowl, or used as a topping for a grilled portabello mushroom.
  9. If you’re serving baked, poached or steamed fish, plate greens as a bed under the fish. for fried fish, plate separately or on the side unless you’ve used a cornmeal batter on the fish.
  10. When in doubt, serve up in a large serving bowl and let the guests fight over them!

What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:

The only addition I can think of for this method would be a splash of lemon juice. Pecorino Romano cheese might be nice as well, but I honestly haven’t tried it, so I can’t say for certain if the combination would work or not.

Links to other recipes like this:

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  1. Naomia Rivera says

    That is one of the nicest things that anyone has ever done for me. I am the one who is so blessed to have had the opportunity to be friends with you, your wife, and Mr. SohD. My life has been touched tremendously by the kindness of you and your family. And those were the best greens I have had. (That’s coming from a MS girl who loves greens!!!) I left a piece of my heart in TX when I drove away. The good thing about loving people though, is that although you may be far away from them, you can always carry them with you in your heart, and I carry you and your family with me each day. I love you guys, and I can’t wait to see you again. It’s not goodbye, it SEE YOU LATER DUDE!!!!! :)

  2. says

    I hate goodbyes! Even after all of the years of living in Florida I still haven’t gotten use to them. People seem to come and go from here and each time I think it gets harder to lose a part of your “family”!

    Those greens look incredible!

  3. says

    Yaay for green, and yaay for friends! Losing them is so hard, but having had them to begin with is one of life’s biggest blessings. I’m sure you’ll never be forgotten for your kindness, Jerry.

  4. kellypea says

    Mmmmm….greens. And the story is tearworthy. You’re such a softie, Jerry. And a great cook. I can just imagine the taste of this. My grandmother was from Healton, OK, so I know my greens.

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