Wednesday, May 28, 2003

A Taste of Green Onions

I wonder of folks really think about what all we have lost as we get further from the soil?

I remember sitting on the porch in the spring of the year down on Arnett's Fork - just up Double Creek a way, enjoying the warmth of the day and talking about everything...or maybe it was nothing in particular. I don't reckon there is anything better than havin' a day when chores are done and a country boy can just sit without bein' told to get to some chore or another.

Have y'all ever had a cravin' flung on ya for something good to eat? I don't mean something you can go in and grab from the frigidaire. I mean something that is gonna take some work to fix. On a spring day like this I would get a cravin' for wilted greens.

If you ever had 'em you won't soon forget 'em. Fresh picked greens with a couple of chopped green onions, crumbled bacon and poured over all that was a little bacon grease with sugar and vinegar mixed in right good.

When I would mention wilted greens, Aunt Mag and Aunt Bess would usually agree..."yessir, that does sound mighty fine." That didn't fill my empty belly though. I had to do it right. I had to have a plan if I was gonna eat mid day.

It would usually start with the onions. I'd ask if I could pull me some green onions. I loved 'em skinned and then dipped in a little salt. With their go ahead I would walk back to the garden and pull a nice handful of green onions. The bulbs would be as big as the end of my thumb by now. The dark soil would grip them bulbs tight as could be as I pulled 'em. Their smell would burst out of the soil 'bout the same time as they did, sharp and sweet and invitin'. I wouldn't put them in the garden basket just yet - they were covered with dirt.

On the way back to the house I would "rinch" 'em off in the creek to get the dirt off. No sense in havin' dirt in the kitchen is what Aunt Mag would tell me. Then they would go in the bottom of the garden basket and I would swing it wildly as I thought of wilted greens.

I would start lookin' for and pickin' wild greens as I walked along the creek - a little creasy greens, (watercress for city folks) lambs quarter and wild dandylion, to name a few. When I had a right smart mess of greens I headed for the porch.

"Looky, Looky what I have done picked" I would crow - "a big ol' mess o' greens along with my onions". "I reckon I might just wash 'em and salt 'em a little and eat a little with my onions."

Aunt Bess would chime in "Gee oh, what a basket of greens". "Them ain't gonna be good till supper. Reckon we ought a fix us a mess of wilted greens right now to do us till supper?"

Aunt Bess saw through me ever' time. Aunt Mag was the boss of the house and it was her that had the final say..."Now children, I don't reckon it would hurt our appetites to have just a little. That is a right smart amount of greens to go to waste."

We would all start fixin' something. Uncle Bill and I would clean up and wash the greens. Aunt Bess would fry up the bacon and crumble it right good. Then Aunt Mag would pour in the vinegar and sugar into the hot grease and make the dressin' to wilt the greens with. Uncle Bill would get out his Case knife and cut them onions up right fine and throw 'em onto the greens. The dressin' was poured over it all and it was tossed good. At the end the crumbled bacon was tossed into the mix.

Aunt Mag would dish ever' one out an equal portion. We retreated to the comfort of the porch with the wilted greens and a real cold glass of sweet tea - icy cold and thick enough to cut with a butcher knife.

Funny, there weren't much talkin' when we sat there and ate wilted greens. Aunt Mag more than once said, "I reckon it is a good thing you like green onions like ya do, Stevie". (They always called me Stevie) "I don't know if'n we'd ever have wilted greens less you thought of green onions."

Yep, we all knew it was a game...later on. Right then I thought I pulled on over on the old folks. What I didn't know is that they would have fixed me wilted greens if I had asked.

Y'all stop by sometime and visit on the porch a while. If ya get hungry, mention how good a couple of green onions might taste, fresh pulled from the garden.

Ya never know, we might throw together some wilted greens and have a big ol' glass of sweet tea.

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