Creamy, Spicy Collard Wraps

Most of the time, when I try to remember our honeymoon, everything’s fuzzy. I remember the guacamole Tim made the first night we arrived, after a whirlwind flight-flight-car-pickup-grocery-stop that had included my breaking down crying in the Wal-Mart parking lot. (Turns out 14 hours of travel, the day after a wedding, takes it out of a girl.) I remember the feeling of being away from it all, as if we’d left the world, gone to a secret place where only we knew each other. I remember the cheap avocados. I remember the roosters that woke us up our first day. I remember the euphoria of being alone and in love and, mostly, done with planning a wedding. But other than that, it’s all a blur.

Cream Spicy Collard Wraps

But then other days, other moments, I get quick, unexpected glimpses that put me right back in that place. Tim and I were driving down a country road Sunday, and as we rounded a bend, both sides of the scenery turned thick and green, like the tall walls of jungle we’d driven through in Kauai. “Remember that corner we’d turn, after we left Postcards for dinner?” I said to Tim.

“I loved driving that jeep,” he said to me.

Tim and Shanna and Collards

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Creamed Collard Greens

Collard greens are one of those foods I kind of pity sometimes.

Like a lot of other green, leafy vegetables (kale! Swiss chard! dandelion greens!), it’s not a staple in American meals. I mean, I can’t speak for you or your household, but we didn’t eat it growing up—ever. When we had vegetables, they were more classic choices like green beans or broccoli or carrots, and while those were all good things, eating only them meant overlooking an entire wall of the grocery’s produce section—one which remained unknown to me for years.

chopped collard greens

Then I grew up. And, in the same way that adulthood exposes us to all kinds of things we missed out on as children, from bills to alcohol to taxes—I went to an office Christmas party or baby shower or some other event where we all made something, and the downstairs receptionist saw my homemade cornbread and asked what she thought was a totally appropriate question: Well, where are the collard greens?

collard greens cooking

This introduced me to two new concepts:

1) Collard greens go with cornbread?
2) People think collard greens can taste good?

Then, just a few months ago, I saw a recipe for creamed collard greens described as comfort food, the kind of thing to “soothe a worn soul.” The post also got my attention with some of the health benefits of these greens: anti-cancer agents, decreased risk of heart disease, high in beta carotene, anti-inflammatory.

creamed collard greens

So right here in my new Nashville, we bought a bunch of collard greens, and after spending about 20 minutes in the kitchen, ate big bowls of this, alongside garlic toast and with gingersnaps in the oven.

Turns out this wasn’t only fitting because it was days after my move and I was in need of some comfort, but also—it was the perfect way to introduce myself to collard greens, and in the perfect place, since it seems here in the South, people don’t find them so strange after all.

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