My sister said once that she doesn’t really like pinto beans because when she was growing up, Mama cooked a pot three or four times a week.
“We’d come home from school and walk into the house and there was that smell,” she said, shuddering at the sensory recall. Pinto beans, cooked with some kind of fatback or pork seasoning, is a unique smell but not necessarily bad. Certainly not in the category of collard greens which will blanket the house with a stench that couldn’t be drowned out with a truck load of honeysuckle at its summer’s fragrant peak.
“Yuck!” Tink will exclaim when he comes in the door. “What is that smell?”
Sometimes I will pretend that I’ve cooked kale when I’ve really just fixed a pot of collard greens steamed in half of a can of chicken broth. Tink is from California where kale is hip. Collards, though, are what pinto beans are: poor. Without collards (my pawpaw, the righteous one, truck farmed collards), pinto beans and cornbread, rural Southerners would have starved whenever hard times struck them like a tornado taking down a trailer.
Ronda Rich, Columnist
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