During a recent visit to N.C., I met up with Patsy Delk of the famous Shirley’s Goodies Collard Sandwich. I’m sure you all remember that incredible sandwich, right?
Patsy was kind enough to spend some time telling me a little more about Shirley’s Goodies, that famous collard sandwich, and her own cooking philosophy. Here’s what I learned:
Shirley’s Goodies was started by Shirley, Patsy’s mom. Shirley was a reputable southern cook in the community and started the business to raise funds for a much needed hearing aid. One thing led to another and the business took off! Today, Patsy runs Shirley’s Goodies with a handful of family members. They now sell their famous collard sandwich at 5 festivals per year in the N.C. region and have been doing so for about the last 12 years.
Patsy learned to cook at a young age and grew up cooking southern food from the garden. Her mom Shirley taught her how. Patsy has a deep appreciation for fresh, organic, natural foods. She believes that a lot of the sickness, diabetes, and dietary problems people have today are caused by the ills of commercial farming, such as heavy use of antibiotics and pesticides. Currently, she raises her own collards for use in the collard sandwich and hopes to go 100% organic in the near future. She aims to run the business full-time after retirement.
How to make the collard sandwich: To start, Patsy uses homegrown collards from the garden and white, N.C. cornmeal. She takes cornmeal (non self-rising) and adds oil, salt, and water to make a batter. She then fries it pancake-style on a griddle to make the crispy “bun.” To cook the collards, she boils about 60 heads (enough to feed a festival crowd) at a time and boils for about 3 hours until tender, then drains (squeezing out all the water). Then, she seasons the collards. She makes 2 versions-one vegetarian (seasoned with olive oil/salt) and one non-vegetarian (seasoned with fat back grease). After seasoning, she tops them with hot peppers and salt and serves them up with the crispy cornbread. The hungry crowds go wild!
You can use the recipe above to make your own version at home. Follow this method for cooking your collards and only use about one head (or one bag of chopped collards).
Thanks to Patsy for sharing her collard sandwich recipe, cooking method and food philosophy! Hopefully I’ll be able to order a fresh collard sandwich from you in the near future. Best of luck!
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