Community Greens

People of all colors discussing evergreen ideas.

Kale & Squash Soup on a Woolworth Spoon

kale-and-squash-soup

I eat kale as often as I can so I am always looking for new recipes and experimenting with old ones. This Kale and Squash Soup came together since my GrowNYC’s Fresh Food Box @ Uptown Grand Central included those items. The Patty Pan Squash added a wonderful flavor to the soup. Any squash will do. The taste will change slightly but the soup will still taste great. I also got a head of cauliflower. In food markets the greens are generally removed. In outdoor markets, the greens are usually still attached. I cut the tender greens from the stalks and used them as a substitute for the kale a couple days later with the remaining squash. Great switch! The poblano pepper came from my Milk Crate Garden.

I always eat soup with my Woolworth spoon. It reminds me that in January 1960 I couldn’t have eaten at a Woolworth Lunch Counter and by August I could because of the power of solidarity and non violent protest. There was a Woolworth’s on Bathgate Avenue in the Morrisania neighborhood I grew up in.

My grandmother would take me shopping with her and I’d watch her pick fruit and vegetables and haggle with vendors. We occasionally went to Woolworth’s to buy notions but I don’t ever remember eating there. My grandmother might have gotten service at the counter but I was probably “too colored”. My grandmother died in 1966. I am glad she lived long enough to see the world changing.

Kale & Squash Soup

Ingredients:
1½ cups onion, diced
1½ tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable stock or water (plus a bit more to adjust liquid to your personal taste)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 poblano pepper, diced
4 cups kale, chopped
4 cups squash, chopped
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
Sauté onions and pepper in oil for 5 minutes or until soft.
Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Add stock, salt and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add kale and squash and cook about 12 minutes or until tender. Add more vegetable stock if your soup needs more liquid, and warm through.
Check seasoning, adjust as needed, and serve sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese.

Makes 8 servings

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GrowNYC’s Fresh Food Box @ Uptown Grand Central

Filed under: CGCooks, Community Green, Food, Gardening, It Takes A Village, Morrisania, , , , , , , ,

Growing Up Morrisania

We are the soil we grew up in. Mine was Morrisania. Morrisania was the Negro neighborhood in the Bronx. Thelonius Monk lived in Morrisania for a time and the Boston Road Ballroom was as popular as Roseland. When I started Jordan L. Mott – Jr. High School 22, I remember someone asking in amazement if I lived in the “Colored Neighborhood”. Funny, I had just “moved up” literally from an unlicensed basement tenement apartment on Franklin Avenue and was then living in the Claremont/Webster Butler projects.

Most of the folks in Morrisania were Colored. We became proudly Negro when I was about 10 years. By the 70’s, I had become Black and I’ve remained that way though some folks have moved on and become African Americans. My 93 year old mother is still Negro though. She isn’t stuck in time. She is a product of the social crucible that is America and her self image and politics make her Negro just as mine make me what I am.

I remember The “Colored Store” owned by Miss Martha and her sister. It was a luncheonette but with a very special feature. It doubled as a candy store. There was a breakfront in the back filled with all manner of penny candies and kids would stand patiently in front of it until they caught Miss Martha’s eye. She would glance over to her sister who would scowl, wipe her hands on her apron, come around from the lunch counter and attend to the sugar greedy children. Each kid would wait their turn to point to the candy of their choice which would be dropped into a small brown paper bag and paid for with assorted pennies, nickels and an occasional dime.

As a child I believed the world was negro with an interesting mix of other ethnicities. That changed when I started Jr. High and was one of the 6 or 7 “coloreds” in my class. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered when I was in Jr. High School. They told my class, and several others, the news and released us before they told the rest of the school population which wasn’t originally, but was now mostly Black and Hispanic. I remember walking several of my classmates to the Grand Concourse, the opposite direction, from my house, before heading home. I remember the odd looks and nervous conversations. Many things changed over the years but I didn’t see that look again until 9/11 when the world made another monumental turn.

Filed under: African-American, Blacks, Morrisania, , ,

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It takes more than a village to raise a child in today's world. The world is more than flat or round or sun and moon. It's also the village on the other side of the river. The objects in the sky are different from that view. Community Greens, griot-like, tells a story. I invite you to share my view.

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