Eating Spinach is the Closest I’ll Get to Collard Greens

For dinner Tuesday night, I made a grilled cheese sandwich using Swiss instead of cheddar cheese because I wanted to taste something different. In the middle of my cooking I thought, “What else can go with this?” and opened the fridge to find glorious spinach calling to me from the second drawer. So I grabbed it and threw it on the hot pan to sauté after my golden Swiss sandwich was done. I seasoned it well with garlic powder, a blend of other spices, and hot sauce. It was when I was drenching my power-green mass in liquid heat that the title popped into my head.

My mother, who grew up in South Florida, is an anomaly. She doesn’t eat most soul food cuisine which baffles me because how does someone, especially a Black woman, not like bacon, greens, pork chops, or red velvet cake?!

So, because the only time I eat greens is when I’m over my grandma’s house, spinach is a substitute. Don’t get me wrong, I love spinach (otherwise I wouldn’t have eaten it) but on those days when I’m craving greens, it just doesn’t suffice, no matter how much hot sauce I put in it.

There’s something about soul food that’s just… mhm. So good! I don’t know if it’s the culture of the Black community or the conversations that happen in and around the kitchen while all the scents and sounds of cornbread baking in the oven, wings sizzling in hot oil, and the pungent odor of chitlings mesh together in a familiar, beautiful tango, but the whole ordeal is incredible.

In the meantime, I’ll gnaw on my spinach until I can satisfy my cravings for collard greens and a community full of home.

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