Friday, February 26, 2016

1925 African American Dance Song "Greasy Greens" & Instructional Video About Cooking Collard Greens

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part series on the soul food dish "greens".

Part I provides information about "collard greens".

Part I also showcases the lyrics to the African American dance song "Greasy Greens" that is included in the 1925 book The Negro And His Songs A Study Of Typical Negro Songs In The South by Howard W. Odum & Guy B. Johnson.

In addition, Part I features an instructional video on how to cook collard greens, Southern soul food style - but with smoked turkey legs instead of pork.

Click for Part II of this series. Part II showcases a sound file and lyrics of the 1972 Rhythm & Blues/early Hip Hop song "Ain't No Greens In Harlem".

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the unknown composer of the early 20th century song "Greasy Greens". Thanks to all those who are quoted in this psot, and thanks to the cooking instructor/publisher of the featured video.

Collard greens and kale are the vegetables that African Americans usually mean when we refer to "greens".

Here's an excerpt of the Wikipedia article on "Collard Greens".
"Collard greens (collards) are various loose-leafed cultivars of Brassica oleracea, the species which also contains vegetables including cabbage (Capitata Group) and broccoli (Botrytis Group). Collard greens are part of the Acephala Group of the species, which includes kale and spring greens.

The plants are grown for their large, dark-colored, edible leaves and as a garden ornamental, mainly in Brazil, Portugal, the southern United States, many parts of Africa, the Balkans, northern Spain and in northern India. They are classified in the same cultivar group as kale and spring greens, to which they are genetically similar. The name "collard" is a corrupted form of the word "colewort" (the wild cabbage plant)....

Southern United States

Collard greens are a staple vegetable of Southern U.S. cuisine. They are often prepared with other similar green leaf vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens, spinach, and mustard greens in "mixed greens".[5] They are generally eaten year-round in the South. Typical seasonings when cooking collards consist of smoked and salted meats (ham hocks, smoked turkey drumsticks, pork neckbones, fatback or other fatty meat), diced onions, vinegar, salt, and black, white, or crushed red, pepper, and some cooks add a small amount of sugar. Traditionally, collards are eaten on New Year's Day,[6] along with black-eyed peas or field peas and cornbread, to ensure wealth in the coming year,[7][8] as the leaves resemble folding money.[9][10] Cornbread is used to soak up the "pot liquor", a nutrient-rich collard broth. Collard greens may also be thinly sliced and fermented to make collard kraut, which is often cooked with flat dumplings.

Tanzania and Kenya (East Africa)

Collard greens are known as "sukuma wiki" in Tanzania and Kenya.

In Congo, Tanzania and Kenya (East Africa), thinly sliced collard greens are the main accompaniments of a popular dish known as "sima" or "ugali" (a maize flour cake).

Sukuma wiki is mainly lightly sauteed in oil until tender, flavoured in onions and seasoned with salt and is served either as the main accompaniment or as a side dish with preferred meat (fish, chicken, beef, pork)."...

The Negro And His Songs A Study Of Typical Negro Songs In The South by Howard W. Odum & Guy B. Johnson (University Of North Carolina Press, 1925)

Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2011 with funding from Boston Library Consortium Member Libraries

"Chapter V Social Songs
page 148

Increasing Popularity of the Social Songs. In the last twenty years there has been a marked increase in the popularity of the Negro's social songs. 1 Whereas during slavery and for a long time thereafter religious themes predominated in the songs of the Negro, there has now grown up a group of secular songs magnificent
in its proportions and rich in variation. These songs vary from the filthiest thoughts of the "rounder" to the loftiest sentiments of the lover, and every Negro child in the South falls heir to some part of this apparently unlimited body of song. Perhaps the diminishing importance of the older religious themes means
that the Negro has finally outgrown that former disposition to sing himself away from a world of sorrow and trouble and is coming more and more to sing himself and his troubles through that world.

Not Pure Folk Songs. The songs in this collection are Negro songs in that they have had their origin and growth among the Negroes, or have been adapted so completely that they have become the common property of the Negroes. As Dr. John Meir has said, they
are "folk-poetry which, from whatever source and for whatever reason, has passed into the possession of the folk, the common people, so completely that each

The Social Songs of the Negro 149

singer or reciter feels the piece to be his own." 1 Each
singer alters the song according to his own thoughts and feelings. Clearly many of the songs are adapted forms of well-known ballads; others, which in all probability had their origin among the Negroes, resemble very strongly the folk songs of other people; while still others combine in a striking way original features
with the borrowed. In any case, the song, when it has become the common distinctive property of the Negroes, must be classed with Negro folk songs.

x In one sense all songs are social, but the term is used herein to denote the ordinary songs of the Negro's everyday life as distinguished from his purely religious songs....



page 226

...In this remarkable song the Negroes dance with merriment, each final line being suitable to the "s-w-i-n-g c-o-r-n-e-r" of the dance. The picture, while not exactly elegant, is at least a strong one.

Mamma goin' to cook some,
Mamma goin' to cook some,
Mamma goin' to cook some —
Greasy greens!

How I love them,
How I love them,
How I love them —
Greasy greens!

Mamma goin' ter boil them —
Greasy greens!

Sister goin' pick them —
Greasy greens!

I goin' eat them —
Greasy greens! "

FEATURED VIDEO: Collard Greens Recipe: How to Cook Southern, Soul Food Collard Greens

Divas Can Cook, Uploaded on Oct 13, 2009

...Learn step by step how to make a pot of southern, soulful collard greens from start to finish. This recipe uses smoked turkey legs, onions, garlic, chicken broth and red pepper flakes to flavor the greens.

If you've never made collard greens before then you may be surprised at just how easy to make and addictive they are! Not to mention full of nutrition!! Pairs well with any southern meal.

In this video I show you how to remove the collards from the stem, wash them, chop them up and cook them to a savory perfection

Traditionally, African Americans use pork (ham hocks, neck bones, etc) to cook greens. But because there are a number of people (like me) who don't eat pork, I decided to feature a video that shows collard greens being cooked with smoked turkey legs.

There are LOTS of instructional YouTube videos on cooking collard greens. Feel free to recommend the one that you prefer in the comment section below.

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