Wednesday, August 20

Record-Breaking at the Van Wagoners

This evening I made the absolutely worst tasting dinner in the history of the Van Wagoner kitchen.

I end up at Meijer for the week's grocery visit, at the end of the day- by which time all of the produce is either wilting, missing, or walking away by itself. We need lettuce, but I don't dare touch the slimy little lumps of leaves they are trying to pass off as saleable. I move toward the pre-packaged salads, when a large, dark green bag catches my eye. "Fresh n' Clean Collard Greens."

Hmm. It rhymes. And I have been curious about these greens since seeing them on Rachel Ray and Martha back in the days when I actually aspired to adventurous cooking. Alrighty. Into the cart you go.

This afternoon I looked up some recipes. Google Search: Collard Greens. Collard Greens and Gravy? Sounds easy enough, let's check it out. Oh. One of Australia's hottest blues trio's. Not edible, moving on. A description catches my eye, and upon further investigation I find the winner.

"...whenever he had collard greens it was with barbecued ribs, and the sauce from the ribs would make its way over to the collard greens, making them taste oh so good. Well, that was enough incentive to try it, and I must agree, collard greens are excellent served with a little BBQ sauce. They are also pretty good on their own with onions and garlic. Here's my dad's recipe:"

I print it out, because everything I read on the internet is true. And at first we're pretty convinced. I fry up some bacon, use the grease to saute some onion and garlic, while cornbread bakes in the oven. Zach can't help but admire the delicious smells coming from the kitchen. I'm pretty excited about our new healthful and tasty meal idea, already planning on incorporating this recipe into our latest weight loss cooking phase. The last thing left to do is add the collard greens to the skillet, and cover them for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender.

Cornbread is ready, and so are the babies. We cut some cubes up for them while we wait for our greens to cook. The kitchen is really smelling good now.

Then I go to stir the greens. Off comes the lid and out comes the smell. Yeah- all of you Southerners who have dealt with this supposedly edible plant are and nodding and smirking at the poor, ignorant, housewife raised by Danish people whose every recipe begins with "a pound of butter," and ends with "two pounds of cheese."

Well, maybe the BBQ will have some magical redeeming properties. Bravely, we sit beside the steaming pile of smell and say the blessing. I have mixed feelings about Mia's lengthy, "bless us to go to church and have a good time and bless us to go to sleep and bless..." as my nose begs my hand to hurry up and cover the greens, but my brain begs my mouth not to find out if this is really going to taste as bad as it thinks it will.

Prayer over, we all reach for the cornbread.

I slap a green pile onto Mia's plate. She says, "Mmmmm! I like this!" and points to the leaves. She must think it's salad. But her enthusiasm gives me just enough courage to slap a pile onto my own plate and hand the spatula to Zach.

I have never eaten so much of something so disgusting. Mia ate a bite, and didn't seem too offended, so I figured I'd better not show any sign of repulsion, even if I was worried it might lead to convulsion. Zach ate a bite and reached for the BBQ sauce. We agreed as subtly as possible that we couldn't stand the stuff, and would definitely be throwing away the left-overs. I ventured a couple of times to instruct Mia to eat another BBQ-smothered leaf, which she willingly popped into her mouth for the reward of more cornbread. But after she nearly gagged out a couple of peices, I told her what a great eater she was, gave her five, and let her off the hook.

We set another record: fastest husband garbage take-out without nagging from wife.



NatRat said...

Yah...I will make sure I don't give those a try. Thanks for the warning!

Melissa said...

Ha, ha...the only thing that could have topped the meal is to have served it with a side of blanched lima beans. Long live southern cooking.

Breezi said...

Next time I have a baby, please don't volunteer to make me dinner and bring me this.... thanks. If you make this solemn promise, we can be friends forever!

Mother Goose said...

OHhh, so funny and beautifully written. I love this post!

Cherry Tree said...

Eeeeeewwwwwwww! Try swiss chard next time it is actually good with butter. I made the kids close their eyes to taste it because it looks like the slime that comes up on your fish hook from the bottom of the lake. However, they all liked it enough after the first bite that the sight didn't deter them from a second and third. Not a health food though with all that butter!

The Garber Family said...

I'll leave out the collard greens next time. And every time.

Sydney said...

Okay that is sooo funny! You are brave for trying something new, even if it didn't smell/taste good. My boys would have turned up their noses right away!

Blog Stalker said...

Too funny. Sorry you had such an awful dinner! Good luck in the future. If you are not scarred by the internet forever there are some good recipees I found at

I've had a few and liked them. There are lots to choose from and they are very health for you recipes.

Sorry such a long post, but really liked yours. too funny the way you wrote it. nicely done

The Gardner Trio said...

Love LOVE LOVE IT!!! YOu are by far most entertaining writer!!!! You had me rolling in laughter when I read that even you were about to "cough it up" after dinner! You little Mia is soo sweet! Sooo glad to know your family! We should seriously hang out more while our hubbies try to figure out how to make time for lunch and sleep during medical school! :)

Love your blog! I too am an avid blogger! Keeps the homesickness away at times ya know! :)

Bia said...

Con tre bambini, uso la parola "basta" anche tropo!

Sei capace di scrivere in italiano molto bene...e' italiana la tua familgia?

Devo dire che burro e formaggio sono ingredienti buonissimi!

Magirk said...

**rolling on floor, laughing hysterically** :-D

So funny.