Middle Children and Collard Greens

There’s telling stories about your family, and then there’s just excessive complaining to a complete stranger.

I was on yet another date from online dating. To start, I should have know that this date would be awkward, purely based on text messages. Most normal people don’t start complaining to a complete stranger, especially by text. However, the rest of them had seemed funny, so I wrote it off as maybe him just having a bad day.

I really should have listened to my gut.

I arrived at the date location a few minutes early (I can’t help myself- my dad is ALWAYS late, so I always arrive early. Always.). My date of course was a few minutes late (but not as late as a previous encounter).

And that is when the complaining started.

Over the next hour and a half (I literally darted out of there as soon as humanly possible), he complained about

  • that it was raining which of course made him late because someone MUST have stolen his umbrella and then put it back in the closet where he wouldn’t be able to find it
  • that he was sore because he ran earlier to train for a marathon, and he HAD to run a marathon since his little brother did, and of course he had to run faster than him to prove that he was the better brother (phrase actually used)
  • that the weather in Chicago was colder than the south
  • that he was the middle child and therefore his family would never love him as much as his older or younger brother (another phrase actually used)
  • that he liked the restaurant and came there often, but really he only liked one thing on the menu, and only if a particular cook had made it

He complained about more things, but to be totally honest I gave up really listening after the first 15 minutes and watched the baseball game above the bar instead, with occasionally throwing in comments I remember from my psych rotation (you know, when I wasn’t dealing with awkward psychiatrists one and two).

Date: Complain, complain, complain, complain.

Me: Sounds like that must be difficult for you.

Date: Yeah it definitely is because of complain complain complain…

Me: Have you tried talking to anyone about this?

Date: Well I saw a psychiatrist plenty of times but they just didn’t understand me because complain complain complain…

I’m almost convinced that someone else had written the amusing text messages or emails he had sent.

Low Maintenance Collard Greens

Crock Pot Collards

nothing to complain about here


  • 1 ham bone (perfect use of the leftovers from your holiday ham)
  • 2 bunches collard greens (I had approximately 2-3 lbs)
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 3 c chicken broth
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Pepper jelly (optional)


  1. In a large crock pot, mix together chicken bouillon, chicken broth, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add in ham bone.
  2. Wash collard greens very well in cold water. Remove tough stems. Cut into small pieces (or tear by hand, which I did).
  3. Place greens into broth in crock pot.
  4. Cook on low for 8-9 hours, stirring occasionally, until at desired doneness.
  5. Top with pepper jelly or pepper sauce, if desired.

65 thoughts on “Middle Children and Collard Greens

  1. Love the online dating story…could share a few myself!! πŸ™‚ Some guys are just…well…clueless to how they come across. However, it makes for an amusing story, right? And we love our amusing stories!

    1. I certainly got quick a few blog posts from online dating…

  2. that date would have depressed me. I need laughter in my life, not other people’s whining at this time

    1. I’m sure it’s one of the few hours where I barely laughed once

  3. I went on a few online dates before I met my husband and two of the three were incredibly awkward. I’ve known several people that have met their spouse through Internet dating so I am definitely in favor of using it as a way to meet people; however, you definitely get a lot of bad with some good. πŸ™‚

    1. You can definitely see why some people are still single

  4. Collard greens are one of my favorites. You would think that guy would have known better, especially on a first date. WOW! πŸ™‚

    1. You would have thought that someone in North Carolina would have taught him manners…

  5. Is that pepper jelly on them? Looks like canned tuna.

    1. That’s actually pieces of ham from the ham bone that fall off in cooking. I didn’t put the pepper jelly on for the picture.

  6. I know it’s a little random, but are those fiestaware cups in your header?
    I’ve always been curious about collard greens, but as a northern girl, we don’t have them back home. I’m going to have to try your recipe out so I can see what the fuss is about πŸ™‚

    1. Those are fiestaware cups! I have 16 place settings at the moment and I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll get two more for Christmas from my parents…

      1. I love fiestaware! My husband got me the purple canister set (it matches my kitchen) and I just squealed like a little girl getting a pony!

      2. I have the same canister in blue πŸ™‚

  7. Oh my goodness, that almost reminds me of an online date encounter I had years ago. First and last time we met. I cut all ties with him. Even the waiter gave me the “I-feel-really-sorry-for-you-right-now” look. I can laugh now but I was so embarrassed…

    1. Oh I know that look…I got that same one from my waiter that night!

  8. Haha oh my goodness that sounds awful! At least it makes for a good story πŸ™‚

    1. I certainly got many blog posts from my online dating experience

  9. My first experience of collared greens was in Ottawa this June at a ribs and brisket place. I think I need to be seconded to somewhere in the US for a few years so I can experience more American food.

    I’m always early for appointments too. I hate being late.

    1. Yeah you might want to go a bit further south to try them…no offense to Ottawa πŸ˜‰

      1. My hope one day is to do an eating tour of the south of your country.

      2. My mother wants to do the same in Italy

      3. I agree. Europe would be good too, but I’d like to do a cooking tour there πŸ™‚

  10. I met my husband of almost 9 years online. Our first date had an akwardness to it at first because we were face to face for the first time after knowing each other for 3 years. Granted, Sr. Complainer would have had me running to the door and never looking back. I love how you pair your real life experiences with food…and graciously share your recipes!

  11. Gee, who would have thought that it was colder in Chicago than in the south. I’m a middle child & my mother always told me I was her favorite…my family must have been screwed up.
    Now tell me again – how long did you last? And hour & 1/2…my hat’s off to you.

    1. There were many statements he kept making that didn’t quite seem to make sense…or at least, should I say that he should have expected the result?

  12. RUN! Not that he’s dangerous, but I know the type. He can suck all of the oxygen out of a room.

    1. I’m surprised that the fire in the brick oven didn’t go out πŸ˜‰

  13. LOL!!! And people wonder why I refuse to do online dating! After a few very weird and akward dates, I gave up! I figure when it’s time, I’ll run into Mr. Right, right? LOL!!

    1. Well I at least had good dates on online dating…my problem is that I work too much and a hospital isn’t the best place to meet anyone haha!

  14. So funny! I can’t wait until you have a lovely time on one of your dates, though. I met my husband online. But I also remember the bad dates. Like where one guy showed up & looked nothing like his picture. He was 20 lbs heavier & was missing his front tooth. I went home & cried & ate a lot of spaghetti. Haha

    1. I’m a big of the ones that lie about their height…if I’m meeting you in person, I know that you’re a foot shorter…

  15. First impressions are critical. Glad you moved on. You’ll find someone FANtastic. I know it.

    1. I heard on the radio the other day that women on average date 24 men before finding the right match…that made me feel like I still have plenty of dates ahead!

      1. So, two new dates a week and you’ll find Mr. Rightβ„’ in less than six months. πŸ˜‰

  16. Hot pepper jelly…interesting. Have to try it.

    1. It’s pretty hard to get pepper sauce here up north so that’s my alternative if I want them a bit spicier

  17. The way you link your stories to your recipes amazes me, I love it!! Very clever, and those collards look amazing!

  18. Usually you are on your best behavior when you first meet someone. Can you imagine what he would be like after you really got to know him?! Good dodge!

    1. Oh I don’t even want to think about how horrible that would have been!

  19. I’m beyond the dating part in my life…but, you have to be really brave to meet up with some of these people…but, then that’s the way we all do it…just been a while for me…The collards sound amazing…

    1. I had some good dates too, I promise…

  20. I worked with a woman who had a blind date like this. She went “to the ladies room”, walked into the kitchen, and gave the busboy $10 to go out back and call her a cab. She left the guy at the table.

    1. It was unfortunately the sort of place with an open brick oven kitchen so I didn’t quite have that option 😦

  21. So funny!!! Probably because i’m not on the date? But I have a weak spot for funny text messages too … so i absolutely understand. Hey , at least you tried this one. Now we know we don’t like this dish =P

    1. Yeah…I’m pretty sure this date was even shorter than the one with the guy with the bad voice…

  22. Oh God, everyone’s nightmare date–like Gollum nattering on about “his precious” for hours and hours. Very funny post. On the other hand, braised collards are incredibly good, and their texture is amazing. Is that a ham bone in the center of the leaves? I thought it was tuna at first. Ken

    1. Yup that’s part of the ham that fell off the bone- definitely not tuna!

  23. Just speaking from a layperson’s experience in dealing with a family of such types – for a looong time – you have good radar and he might want to find out if any of those psychiatrists diagnosed him with a personality disorder. As irritating and impossible to deal with for those on the outside, those with them are to be pitied almost as much as they are to be avoided.

      1. hmmm, This “layperson” doesn’t know what axis two means, lol.

      2. Personality disorders fall into axis II of the DSM system πŸ˜‰

  24. I was on online dating websites for about 3 years before I met AJ on one. I met normal people and not so normal people and some scary people. But AJ was a diamond in the rough. Unfortunately I feel like I’ll be back on the online dating train when he moves back to New York in February……..BUT, you’ll find a good genuine guy. Don’t you fret!

  25. I once met someone like that, and I brought up to him that since we barely knew each other he might not have realized that this was now my first impression of him and maybe I wasn’t the right person to unload this all on, and he responded by calling me a cold-hearted b****. So that was the end of that… Better luck next time, glad you still have your sense of humor about it πŸ™‚

    1. Oh dear…this guy at least didn’t swear at me!

  26. Back to the guy who has a high voice (and no clue, in my opinion), VOICE is sooooooo important. I was attracted to my husband because of his voice. Regarding complaining . . . . I’ll tell ya, I am a complainer. I get A LOT of education from complaining. I have people in my life that give me EXCELLENT solutions because I complain and they say, “Well, do this . . . ” and VOILA! They have helped me fix my problem. So THEY enable me. LOL! But really –I feel I am a big complainer so once I was asking God WHO in the WORLD would put up with me and my complaining. I wondered what He had in store. Being the ultimate joker that God is, do you know what He did? He led me to meet and marry someone that complains more that I do! NO JOKE! Well, it is a joke — on me, but it is the truth! At least my hubby has a golden voice with which he complains. Makes it easier to listen to I guess.

    One of the things my “complainer” complains about is eating veggies . . . . EXCEPT collard greens. He LOVES them. I just sautee them in olive oil with onions and garlic.

    1. Haha whenever my boyfriend complains I just tell him to suck it up, even though he has a good voice πŸ˜‰

  27. OMG good thing you got out of there fast!!! ALWAYS ALWAYS listen to your gut. Mine has yet to EVER be wrong, it might be quiet but never wrong. Holy moly did you have major red flags everywhere. Don’t give up on dating you’ll find someone you’re a pretty young lady.

  28. I’ve been browsing through your blog and have enjoyed your online dating mishap stories. This is why I am not brave enough to try online dating. PS the recipe looks scrumptious.

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