When you live in the South and visit old folks in the country, the first thing you have to do is admire their garden. If you run out of excuses, you’ll come home with a “mess of greens.” I hate dealing with greens. For the unenlightened, greens include turnips, collards, or mustard greens. Boiled down low, with a bit of pork, and garnished with a splash of “pepper sauce,” greens make a delicious meal. A true connoisseur polishes off by sopping up the juice, or pot-liquor with cornbread. If you’re above the Mason-Dixon Line, try a roll. That’s the happy ending.
Now, we get down to the nitty gritty, literally. Greens have to be “looked and washed.” The first step is dispossessing the wildlife who habituate greens. Nobody wants to find half a worm or a cluster of bug eggs in their pot-liquor. You have to give both sides of each rumpled leaf a good look, wash, and then rinse copiously. I’d heard the glorious news that greens could be washed in the washing machine, cutting down tremendously on prep time.
The next time Bud visited an elderly family member, he came back wagging a bag of greens. I didn’t moan like normal, having recently heard the good news that greens could be washed in the washing machine. As usual, the basic information registered, not the total technique. I loaded the washer with dirty greens and detergent and hit the start button. Quite a while later, the alarm sounded, and I went to retrieve my sparkling greens. Alas, no greens remained, just a few tough stems and a few bits of leaves. A follow-up conversation with my friend revealed that I should have only washed them on gentle and not continue on to spend.
Though I hoped he’d forget, Bud came in that night expecting greens. I feigned innocence. “What greens?” It didn’t fly. “The greens I brought in yesterday.” It’s hard to come up with an excuse how precious greens went missing. I gave up and told the truth, though I don’t like worrying Bud stuff with that gets his blood pressure up. I’m considerate that way.
“They went down the drain.”
“How in the Hell did they go down the drain?” I don’t know why he gets all up in my housekeeping and cooking business. “
“They just did. Now don’t keep asking nosy questions!” “
“Exactly what drain and how did that happen?” “
“The washing machine drain.” I
I hoped if I answered matter-of-factly, he’d move on. I didn’t work. “
“You put greens in the washing machine? What in the Hell were you thinking?” I
I hate it when he apes back what I’ve just said. I’ve told him it gets on my nerves. “It takes forever to look and wash greens. Jenny told me she puts hers in the washer and it works great. I didn’t realize I wasn’t supposed to put them through spin.”
“Grouch, grouch, grouch @^%&( , #@$%! Don’t ever put )(^%&# greens in the washer, again!”
“Okay, okay. Don’t go on forever about it. I get tired of your nagging” Since then I’ve been careful not to spin them. It works great.