Greens in Black and White

Greens in Black and White
The New York Times
October 6, 2004

TO most Southerners, few things are as pleasing as plopping down before a heaping plate of simple, home-style cooking – dishes like collard or turnip greens, fried chicken, black-eyed peas, corn bread, sweet potato casserole. This type of food is so evocative of the easygoing contentment of home that Southerners – and even much of the rest of America – refer to it simply as comfort food.

But there’s a potentially uncomfortable conversation to be had about Southern comfort food, one that has simmered like creamy gravy on a stove top for perhaps 20 years and may now reach a very public boil: how much of what is called Southern cooking can be traced to black culture, and how much to white?

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