“I Have a Dream” Dinner

Today is an important day in our history…the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr’s contribution to the civil rights movement in this country. My daughter and I were privileged enough to visit the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis this last summer and it was a very moving experience. I recommend everyone take themselves and their children there. It is such an education!

So as I thought about the holiday today and what I would make for dinner, I decided to do a little research on what type of foods MLK liked to eat. I found that he loved any soul food but his favorite food item was pecan pie. I was excited about the soul food because I have been wanting to taste collard greens for awhile now. I knew right away that would be on the dinner menu. After more research, I decided to make BBQ ribs, collard greens, black-eyed peas, cornbread and pecan pie bars. A menu dedicated to Mr. King & his favorite foods!

I’ve made everything on this menu before except the collard greens. Everything I’ve seen on cooking collard greens say three things are important: (1) be sure to clean them several times, (2) add lots of flavor and (3) cook them low & slow. Armed with this knowledge & a recipe to follow, I set out on my collard green adventure.

The recipe called for 4 bunches of collard greens. While at the store, I looked at the collard greens and seen that one bundle consisted of 4 stalks tied together so I bought it. I cleaned them well, dried them, sautéed all the flavorings before adding the greens & stock to the pot. I was so excited that the greens were wilting like they are supposed to & the pot was smelling fantastic.

Once dinner was finished and we sat down to eat, I tasted the collard greens first and nearly choked because they were too salty! After reviewing everything again, I was supposed to buy four of the tied bundles – not four stalks tied in one bundle! I had used 1/4 of the required collard greens with the flavorings & liquid for four times that many greens. Yeah, definitely a lesson learned here.

So I share my collard green failure with you to say that cooking is a constant lesson. Don’t be afraid to do it or to make mistakes — it’s all so much fun! I also highly recommend picking a holiday and creating a menu to celebrate. Celebrating history through food turned out to be quite a history lesson for the family and really had the dinner table discussion rolling tonight.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally posted in 2010. It is evident to me that I bought some kind of pre-packaged BBQ ribs because of the shape of them in the picture below. Please note that with more experience and food knowledge I would highly suggest making your own BBQ ribs. I’m certain your own creation will be much better than what these pre-packaged ribs probably were. 


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