Unfortunately I do not have an origianl photo of “greens” because it was years ago when I last had the pleasure of a meal with “greens”. I can only show you cooked lettuce on the left with an accompaniment of pasta. But what were greens? If my mum was still here to answer my question. she would tell me I do not realise the value of good food. For mum, greens were greens and grew green in large bunches of green leaves, and above all, they were the cheapest vegetable you could buy.
Ok, mum could not cook. The problem was she thought she could. Dad loved her food, but he was glad she did the cooking as dad did not realised that food had to be cooked. He was not a gourmet and as long as meat and veg and potato arrived on the table, everything was fine. He visited me with mum a couple of times in Switzerland, and I was then cooking for two adults and four kids daily Swiss style. Mum and dad would eat what they were served, although they regarded it as something completely different. Dad’s remark was “they like that sort of thing”, me and Mrs. Swiss and the family being “they”, but I am digressing.
So I grew up with home cooking. The British do not have a reputation of being the cordon bleu cooks in the world and I can support this idea, but I was always something completely different, even as a kid.
“Eat your greens”
“I don’t like them”
“They are good for you.”
I was confronted with a plate with a collection of green leaves boiled in water with some salt for the flavour and a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda to make sure they remained green and did not lose their colour in the cooking process. After the cooking process the leaves were strained from the boiled water and chopped to make them easier to swallow. For mum there were two spices, salt and pepper, Vineagar was also useful, but you only applied it to the french fries or made mint sauce with it for the pork roast.
And so I did my best to swallow these healthy green leaves without gagging on them. Eventually mum got the message and greens disappeared from my diat plan to be replaced by tomato beans from the tin. Yes we were healthy eaters, but I survived.
Everything was edible, but enoying the food was an extra. I can still hear mum’s voice today when she said (she was a cockney)
“I pity your old man when you find one. He will ‘ave to survive on fish fingers and chips.”
I can assure you Mr. Swiss is thriving on the food I cook for him even if I might cook fish fingers once a month for something completely different, but there are no daily greens à la mère. He eats the fish fingers with salad in my own home made salad sauce.