Collards with Guanciale

(From West Falmouth, MA posing as Buloxi, MI)

Last night I made real collard greens for the first time. Instead of the traditional ham hock or smoked bacon, I used guanciale, a cured pork cheek, which tastes like pancetta on steroids. The pot likker, the greenish-brown liquid left in the pot after boiling the greens down for about an hour, was truly tonic. Suddenly I see how people get hooked on Southern cooking.

In my quest to cook more whole grains (and not just eat them in breads), I also tried cooking buckwheat groats, commonly knowns as kasha, for the first time. I’m not sure which I hated more, the soft-but-still chunky oatmealish texture or the slightly nutty, slightly sour-tasting flavor. I think I could have suffered through either the texture or the flavor alone, but no amount of added butter convinced me to eat my kasha. But my dog loved it.

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