How to Get Northerners to Stop Eating Undercooked Vegetables and Putting Jelly on Cornbread?

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Count Porcula

Meat Mopper
Original poster
SMF Premier Member
Sep 25, 2020
A while back, I posted a thread, asking for suggestions for low-carb BBQ vegetable sides. For some reason, I didn't feel like beans or greens. I think now this was a mistake.

Today I fixed something my mother used to fix. Green beans, collards, cornbread, a sliced Vidalia, and a sliced tomato. For a beverage, I had full-fat buttermilk. It was really nice.

Yesterday, my friend who is staying here fixed BBQ chicken, and I made the greens then. I was going to use neckbones, but the grocery was out. I grabbed some salt pork instead. I didn't have time to use it, so I made the greens with half a pound of partially-fried bacon. I threw the salt pork in the smoker with the chicken so I would be able to use it for something later. When it came out, it was gorgeous. Today, when I tried a tiny piece, I learned that you can eat smoked fatback as if it were brisket.

We screwed up the timing of the meal, so the greens had to be served before they were wilted correctly. They had not released their flavor. My friend is not a Southerner, so he thought they were fantastic. Northerners like undercooked greens. After we ate, I put the greens back on the stove until they were boiled down to perfection. I would say it took another 90 minutes.

I still had a lot of greens, plus the unused fatback, so today I sliced the fatback and put it in a pot of fresh green beans. Pole beans would have been better, but they are impossible to find. I boiled the daylights out of them with a garlic clove, salt, MSG, butter, and a little sugar. Because regular green beans fall apart too early, I removed them from the pot when they started to break down, and I boiled the pork and pot liquor until I got a magnificent reduction. Then I threw the beans back in.

I made the cornbread from Martha White self-rising meal, full-fat buttermilk, two eggs, bacon grease, salt, a small amount of sugar, and a little butter. Ordinarily, I use two cups of meal and 1/4 cup grease, but I was low on grease and had to add butter. I baked in a #6 skillet at 450. I served the cornbread with butter along with the beans, greens, tomato, and onion. I could not get a decent tomato, so I used whatever nice-looking beefsteak hybrid I found at the store.

It was truly wonderful.

My problem is that my friend thinks cornbread is supposed to be sweet, which is a sinful and degenerate point of view, so when I make cornbread, he takes a squeeze bottle of grape jelly and unloads on it. I can't even get him to use Oberholtzer's sorghum, which is the only sweet thing that should go near cornbread. He thinks I'm crazy for wanting to dip buttered cornbread in the juice from beans and greens.

I think mental illness is involved.

I'm wondering if anyone else here has had problems trying to get Northerners to eat vegetables prepared correctly. Greens that aren't boiled until they die have no flavor at all, and the same is pretty much true of beans. The difference between stiff, undercooked greens and proper greens is indescribable. The flavor is completely different, but these days, people are so convinced everything has to be crunchy and firm, you can't get them to eat good food.

Now that I've ranted, here is my cornbread recipe, to make amends. My family is from Eastern Kentucky, so it's cornbread, not cake.


2 cups Martha White corn meal with Hot Rize (scientifically proven to be pea-pickin' good)
1-1/3 full-fat buttermilk, or more if the batter seems too stiff
2 eggs
1/4 cup bacon grease
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 450. When it gets hot, put your #6 seasoned skillet in. When the skillet is hot, add the bacon grease.

Warm the milk up so it won't harden fat. Beat the eggs in it. Mix into the corn meal and other dry ingredients.

The grease in the skillet should be smoking. Pour it into the batter and stir it in. Pour the batter into the skillet and bake for around 22 minutes, give or take.

You can do really great things with this cornbread if you have cream cheese and blueberries, but that's a recipe for another day.

There was nothing to the greens and beans. Just simmer with bacon, fatback, neckbones, ham hocks, jowls, or some other type of pork, plus a little garlic, salt, pepper, sugar, and butter. You only want to add enough sugar to make the vegetables seem suspiciously ripe and tasty. A very small amount of hot sauce will be good in the greens.

You want greens that are completely limp and wrinkled. If you haven't simmered them for at least three hours, they are probably not done. The beans should not disintegrate, but they should be pretty soft. The liquor should be a strong green with powerful pork flavors. It should be acidic and aromatic. You don't want the vegetables swimming in bland fluid. You want a reduction. Pork with bones is good because they will thicken it.
Hope I provided a particle of useful information.

People can always add more sugar to the cornbread if they insist. I just don't want to know about it.
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I think it depends on what you want to eat the vegetable with, a straw or a fork. My mother used to cook vegetables so the only difference between them was the taste, the look was always the same, mush, and the taste was aweful.
I'm with ya on the cornbread sounds PERFECT, but definitely not on the greens. Worst taste I ever had to experience.
I think the world is divided into people who love nearly all vegetables and those who would have trouble eating most of them at gunpoint.

I like just about everything except asparagus, and I like asparagus a little.
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Couple photos.

04 29 22 cornbread small.jpg


  • 04 29 22 green beans with smoked fatback small.jpg
    04 29 22 green beans with smoked fatback small.jpg
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I grew up eating greens, but not the greens you southern boys can get. Up here, greens pretty much means Swiss Chard or fiddle heads. I love them both.
When I want a feed of chard, I boil the hell out of it, and then serve them up with butter, salt, and vinegar. Can't wait for summer.
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It looks like a lot of fatback, but it was perfect. I never knew how good smoked fatback could be.

When you first add it to the beans, it smells wrong, but by the time they're done simmering, it's the smell of heaven.
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Sweet cornbread is corn cake. It has its place, but its place is not on my plate!

Now - I will make an exception of allowing more than a trace of sugar in my cornmeal batter if I'm griddling them up like pancakes. I can tolerate the sweetness a touch more that way. Your recipe is about right, but I'd probably make it a scant TSP to be honest....

No sugar in my collards. Zero.

And smoked jowl is my pork of choice for collards. I fry it lightly and use the drippings for my cornbread grease ;)

You got my upvote OP!
Reading your write up took me right back to gran'mas house for Sunday dinner deep in the back woods of Arkansas. Thank woman was a master in the kitchen. I've got her skillet (100 yrs old) but she took her cornbread recipe to the grave with her.
The sugar in the collards is a cheat. It's not enough make them sweet. It's just enough to make people think the greens are better, like they're a special variety grown with some kind of secret fertilizer. It's like putting a tiny amount of salt in chocolate chip cookies or cheesecake batter.

Never stop cheating.
Wow you really wouldn't like me at your dinner table Count. I prefer eating most of my veggies raw with the exception of spinach, corn and potato's. When I was growing up my mother always had a plate of raw whatever vegetables she was making for supper. This included carrots, turnips, cauliflower, broccoli, and a few others. As for cornbread I always liked mine with butter, but my mom made them in muffin tins.

I ate raw tomato and onion with the meal I had today. I have been known to use raw collards as salad, which is something most people won't do. I eat raw vegetables for breakfast most days.

Cooked beans and greens have to be COOOOOOOKED, though.
What brought on this rant?
My experience from a northern raised boy, that lived in the south.
Greens (collard and mustard) have to be cooked into submission to reduce the bitter note. Then are unpalatable slop. Just not my taste.
I prefer par cooked and edible vegetables
Cornbread with 2 eggs is corn cake. A personal taste much as my greens take.
Grape jelly or honey? Most everyone I know adds some sweet to the corn bread. I like plain butter.

Side note. I do not like catfish. I have tried that mud fish prepared in every way possible except for brined and smoked.
Side note. I do not like catfish. I have tried that mud fish prepared in every way possible except for brined and smoked.
There isn't just one catfish. There are mud cats, channel cats, blue cats, etc, they all have a somewhat different flavor. Some are better than others.
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Count, get rid of All the sugar to reduce your carb load.
For your cornBread try Aunt Jemima(whatever it's now called) self rising white cornmeal mix or the Martha White version. Yellow mix makes for dryer cornBread. No sugar and no eggs for a superior cornBread. Only use buttermilk like you are doing. May need a little more oil/grease to make up for the eggs.
No sugar for any greens or beans. The greens are supposed to be a bit bitter. Mom always made mixed greens or turnip greens with turnips. Try some pepper sauce on the greens and some folks even like it on beans and peas.
If you like slather the cornBread with some good butter.
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