Hart stands on a dock in the low country with a handful of collards. She has on a hat, black sweater, jeans, and combat boots.

Here in Charleston, South Carolina, many local families have an essential tradition on New Year's Day: filling our bellies with collard greens and hoppin’ john. A serving of each promises health and wealth for the year ahead, so you better not miss out.  There is something so nurturing about this combination. I can’t eat enough of it – dousing my bowl in Crystal hot sauce and slurping down the nourishing collards. We love the recipes by the legendary Southern chef, Edna Lewis, championed for her fresh, healthy approach to southern food.

Here's her recipe: 


  • 2 quarts Smoky Pork Stock
  • 6 pounds collard greens, stems and ribs removed, leaves cut into 1-inch-wide ribbons
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red peppers
  •  Salt and freshly ground black peppers
  • Two 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained


    1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, bring the Smoky Pork Stock to a boil. Add the collard greens and cook over moderately high heat until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain the greens, reserving the liquid.

    2. Wipe out the casserole. Add the oil and onions and cook over moderate heat until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and 3 cups of the reserved cooking liquid and simmer over moderately low heat until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 15 minutes. Add the collard greens and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

    P.S. If spicy isn't your thing try some apple cider vinegar (2 teaspoons should do).