Sunday, January 13, 2008
Good ol' poor folks' food
There's an episode of Matlock - yes, I admit, I watch Matlock - in which Ben Matlock's houseguest, Jimmy Legrand (played by David Carradine), announces that he's thinking about cooking some scratch-made black-eyed peas and cornbread. Matlock gets a broad smile on his face and hands Legrand a bottle of Tabasco sauce. The next scene shows the two of them sitting at the table eating. Matlock scoops diced onions into his bowl of black-eyed peas and says, "Mmm, mmm! Poor folks food!" See why I like Matlock?!
As I mentioned last week, my Great Aunt Caroline recently suffered a stroke. She's still in the hospital here in Nashville. Some of my extended family, most of whom live along the Tennessee-Alabama border, came to Nashville yesterday to visit her. I told 'em to not worry about dinner: "I'll be more than happy to feed you," says I.
I had several big, thick slices of country ham that needed to be cooked in the worst way. I'd considered thinly slicing the ham to use for fried country ham sandwiches. Then inspiration struck: cube the ham and use it to season a big pot of black-eyed peas and a big pot of fresh turnip greens. That is exactly what I did.
I cooked eight bunches of turnip greens, two pounds of dried black-eyed peas, and two skillets of cornbread. I diced two white onions and fried two remaining slices of country ham. After eight people'd had their way with my spread, there wasn't anything left - 'cept for some of the "juice" in which the turnip greens had simmered. If that ain't a tribute to Joltin' Django's culinary skills, I don't know what is.