Kilt (Killed) Lettuce: A Recipe From My Kentucky Childhood - Delishably - Food and Drink
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Kilt (Killed) Lettuce: A Recipe From My Kentucky Childhood

Brenda grew up in Kentucky eating the delicious cooking of her mother and grandmother. She enjoys sharing their recipes with others!

Monsieur Doughboy Loves Kilt Lettuce

Mountain dialect is unique. Creek becomes crick, killed becomes kilt. Therefore kilt lettuce is killed or wilted lettuce.

Mountain dialect is unique. Creek becomes crick, killed becomes kilt. Therefore kilt lettuce is killed or wilted lettuce.

Kilt (or Killed) Lettuce and Green Onions

I grew up in the beautiful and majestic Kentucky mountains where life was simple and safe. My brothers and I played all day long and only came home when called by the cow bell that Granny rang. She and Mama had been working hard in the house, cleaning, mending, cooking and praying that we would live to adulthood.

Sometimes it was doubtful because we got into all sorts of mischief, trouble and danger. Yet, it seemed we got more loving attention and our favorite meals when we had just escaped death. So, we made certain to tell the ladies of our escapades in the mostly forlorn hope of receiving a handmade fried apple pie or Mama's incredible homemade doughnuts. Usually, we just received a swat on the rear for lying though, so I quickly learned to keep silent and waited for the fallout to recede so we could eat supper.

We always had a large garden which contained rows and rows of leaf lettuce, green onions and many other summer delicacies. That garden yielded tomatoes the size of a dinner plate but the onions were thin as a pencil and sweet as honey. I believe chefs on television shows call them scallions now, but they were just green onions to us. We kids kept a salt shaker wrapped in foil at the edge of the garden and would eat them fresh with the dirt just shaken off the best we could. It was a great life and growing up there was like living in a fairy tale.

But though we kids ate food straight from the garden, Mama and Granny had garden produce recipes fit for a king. Some would take hours to prepare while others were table ready in minutes. Kilt lettuce is one of those mouthwatering delicacies that we loved. This little known dish is an old Appalachian favorite that we adored. It uses up the overflow from the garden "truck" patch and works well with kale, turnip greens, mustard, etc. We usually sprinkled on a few drops of vinegar and that adds a light tartness to relieve the heaviness of the oil.

Our supper table always had a huge pan of cornbread made from Granny's home churned buttermilk and dripping with fresh, sweet butter.We used the bread to sop up the leftover juices and grease from the kilt lettuce. It makes my mouth water to even remember that amazing taste.

When the season and time was just right, we all met at the creek (crick) and gathered a mess of branch lettuce but usually lettuce from the garden was the main ingredient for this dish.

Back then we ate bacon almost every day and the grease was saved and used in other dishes. Mama always used bacon grease to kill lettuce but nowadays, I am a modern vegetarian so I use oil. Olive oil works well on this. Just don't tell my Granny if you meet her in Heaven before I get there. She may get the angel Gabriel to smite me. That was always her greatest threat when we were naughty and I still believe she had a contact up there.

I miss you Granny and Mama. This recipe is being shared in honor of you both—the best cooks who ever fed a passel of hungry kids, seven dogs, eleven cats, a peacock and anything else that was hungry.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

5 min

15 min

4 Servings

kilt-lettuce-a-recipe-from-my-kentucky-childhood

Ingredients

  • 1 mess (about 6 cups) leaf lettuce, cleaned
  • 1 mess (about 1 cup) green onions (scallions), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter, just for flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar, optional
kilt-lettuce-a-recipe-from-my-kentucky-childhood

How to Humanely Kill Lettuce (Instructions)

  1. In a large bowl, mix lettuce and onions.
  2. Heat oil in a small pan until very hot, almost smoking.
  3. Heat butter in a large skillet. Cast iron works best.
  4. Fill skillet to overflowing with the lettuce and onion mixture.
  5. Carefully pour hot oil over greens in skillet stirring constantly for 2 or 3 minutes. CAUTION: This is hot and will spatter if greens are wet.
  6. Turn off heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Transfer back to the bowl.
  8. The lettuce will be killed (kilt) and the onions softened, but crunchy.
  9. Sprinkle with vinegar if desired.
  10. Serve immediately while hot.

Kilt greens are great served with pinto beans, black-eyed peas or other savory foods.

Kilt Lettuce and Green Onions

Hey, Ya Snooze, Ya Lose!

kilt-lettuce-a-recipe-from-my-kentucky-childhood

© 2012 Brenda Barnes

Comments

Susan on June 03, 2015:

I do love this dish I grew up in the hills of Ky and had this many times

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on November 19, 2014:

Hello Tim. Thanks for taking time to comment. My niece went to Berea College and I visited her there several times. Yeah, I doubt the cafeteria would have something like kilt lettuce. It sure is good. Give it a try.

Timothy Arends from Chicago Region on November 18, 2014:

Great hub and great memories! I went to Berea College in Kentucky for four years and I never heard of kilt lettuce. Of course, we just ate cafeteria food there!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on May 19, 2013:

Ann, that sounds SO good. I fondly remember red eye gravy. sigh

anndavis25 from Clearwater, Fl. on May 18, 2013:

I am identifying with you. Your childhood sounds a lot like mine. My dad's favorite was red-eye gravy poured over lettuce. After frying country ham, pour a little water in the skillet, and even a touch of coffee. The gravy turns red, and has a ham salty taste. Wilt baby lettuce with it and sometimes mama would cut up young green onions. Of course, that was always with buscuits.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on October 27, 2012:

Darling Lily, you would love my kitchen. We could cook, taste, sit and chat while the warmth and aromas made us shiver with hunger. thank you very much for seeing me through the eyes of love. Bless you my friend.

Lillian K. Staats from Wasilla, Alaska on October 26, 2012:

Sweetheart, I've added lettuce to stews and soups, and have never been disappointed. I'd love to gaze at your kitchen. No doubt you have the most delicious things cooking there... a real and warm haven from the world, as you are... much love to yaz, lily

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on October 26, 2012:

Hello frogyfish.I miss Mama and Granny very much. Yes, give this another try. I think you will like it better as an adult. Many kids just do not care for greens. Thanks for the visit. I appreciate it.

frogyfish from Central United States of America on October 23, 2012:

What a delightful memory and tribute to your Mama and Granny. My mother used to fix this but I never thought it delectable. You made it sound good this time around. I may have try this sometime - with bacon which is what mom used too. thank you!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on August 27, 2012:

Sally, I get nostalgic about my mountain home. Mama and Granny were so wonderful and deserved better than the worry we kids gave them both. They fed us well though. Kilt lettuce is one amazing dish and quite addictive. Please use bacon. It makes this so savory. Thanks for the visit and wonderful comments.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 27, 2012:

I love the way you described your childhood home...by the time I got to the recipe part, I was already just about drooling because of the cornbread and bacon!

Kilt lettuce sounds delicious and nutritious. I'll be having mine with bacon, thank you. :)

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on July 29, 2012:

leahlefler, that Doughboy has become an icon. He appears in most of my recipes and gets into some trouble sometimes. This old recipe is SO good and yes, is great with bacon grease. It is still wonderful vegetarian though. Thanks for the great comments. Hy

Leah Lefler from Western New York on July 28, 2012:

I love your Pillsbury Doughboy! The mountain terminology is fantastic - "kilt" lettuce looks fantastic! I love the way you changed to recipe to make it vegetarian - though I am sure bacon grease tastes great for the carnivores out there!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on July 28, 2012:

Hi Will. This is good stuff for sure. Bacon grease is what Mama used to kill lettuce but I do not eat meat so I must abstain. sigh Thanks for dropping by. Make yourself a mess of kilt lettuce and remember the good old days.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on July 28, 2012:

I remember this and other great garden foods from my own Kentucky days, and yes, a 'mess' was a precise measurement!

Non-vegetarians might want to use bacon grease in lieu of the oil...it's so good that way!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on July 03, 2012:

Thank you Just Ask Susan. It really is satisfying and provides many nutrients. The olive oil even adds Omegas! I do appreciate your visit and comments.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on July 03, 2012:

Cooked or kilt lettuce ... hmm not sure about this but I do love veggies, so I am going to have to try your recipe. Absolutely loved the intro.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on July 01, 2012:

Mollymeadows, veggies are so great. They will change your life, infusing health and vitality. And they are yummy. It is interesting that your mom adds sugar. I will stick with vinegar though. I do not have a sweet tooth and vinegar adds a lightness.

Yeah, fat boy is greedy. He would be convicted in a court of law. Alas, he is so cute that I cannot turn him in though. I adore thinking of ways to add him in a recipe Hub. He has so much personality for a cookie jar!

Mary Strain from The Shire on July 01, 2012:

Hyph, if I keep reading your hubs I'm afraid I will convert and start eating vegetables. I loved your story about eating veggies straight from the patch. My mother still cooks greens like this, and she cooks them in olive oil as well, though she uses a pinch of sugar with hers. I'll have to try it with vinegar.

BTW, it looks like the fat white boy has graduated from petty thief to killer (of greens). The circumstantial evidence against him looks pretty strong to me.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 29, 2012:

Mythicalstorm273, if you do not like veggies this may not be for you. The darker the greens, the stronger the taste. I am a veggie lover so it is wonderful to me. Thanks for reading though and being open to trying it. This really is a great dish, flavorful and healthful!

mythicalstorm273 on June 29, 2012:

I am not very good with my veggies so I have never heard of anything quite like this... very interesting idea. I'm curious as to what it tastes like though! I might have to try this!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 28, 2012:

Hello moonlake. I am surprised to find this up North but happy for all of you that get to eat it. Thanks for the votes. I do appreciate your time.

moonlake from America on June 28, 2012:

We have something like this up north. Enjoyed your story along with your recipe. Voted Up.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 28, 2012:

Alastar, you made me laugh. We have got to get you in touch with your barefoot side. If something can be fried or greased up, we can discover it. Thanks for reading about my humanely kilt lettuce.

Alastar Packer from North Carolina on June 27, 2012:

Hyph, when i saw kilt lettuce, once again thought no way; and once again you said oh yeah lol. Loved reading about the garden days. There ain't nothing like food you grow or make by hand- including humanely killed lettuce!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 26, 2012:

Movie Master, thank you so very much.That makes me beam with happiness. You are so encouraging and I sure needed it today. This dish is wonderful. I wish I had some today. The energy from the greens would be nice. I appreciate you taking time to visit and comment.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on June 26, 2012:

I am so looking forward to trying this!

Thank you for the recipe and the hub, I am a big fan of your writing and am so pleased you are writing more again!

Best wishes Lesley

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 26, 2012:

mckbirdbks, watermelon cake really cannot be less than best. But for a savory dish, this rocks. Thanks for the kind comments. I sure hope those ladies are proud of me.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on June 25, 2012:

Granny and Mamma are proud of you Olive Oil or know for carrying on such a green tradition. I am going to admit this does not sound as appealing to me as watermelon cake.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 25, 2012:

teaches12345, I am so pleased you like my little tales. We had this dish in Tennessee also. It is all over Appalachia I believe. Thank you kindly for the visit and the votes.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 25, 2012:

Hello North Wind. Those are precious memories aren't they? Thank you for sharing your own with us and for the visit.

Dianna Mendez on June 25, 2012:

I enjoyed reading through your childhood memories and how you grew up in Kentucky. I remember this recipe from when I lived in Virginia and enjoyed the new dish very much. Voted up for interest, style and recipe idea.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 25, 2012:

Green Lotus, we sure were. My family still eats lots of fresh produce. I am so glad you liked the story related to this recipe. I loved my childhood recollections. Thanks for your visit and taking time to comment.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 25, 2012:

Thanks Frank. You are a jewel!

North Wind from The World (for now) on June 25, 2012:

Sounds good, Hyphenbird!

Your childhood sounds like it was delightful. There really is nothing like eating things straight from the garden. As children we would eat cherries, plums and whatever else fruit was bearing at the time and we would drink straight from the hose. They always tasted better when you were playing somehow. Like you, my grandmother would make something from them as well. Her specialty was jam and there was nothing like her cherry jam.

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on June 25, 2012:

Your story has as much flavor as the recipe! You're so lucky to have had so much fresh greenery ;)

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on June 25, 2012:

five star recipe from Kentucky is what I'll call it :) thanks H--- :) Frank

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 25, 2012:

WannaB Writer, they are so yummy. I had some yesterday and fell in love all over again. Thanks for the 5 star vote. I appreciate your visit and time.

Barbara Radisavljevic from Templeton, CA on June 24, 2012:

That's a great way to use greens. I'll have to remember it. Five stars for you.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 24, 2012:

mary615, we sure did. Mama made fried pies from most fruits and they were so good. Sometimes she had them ready for us as a treat after school and I still can remember that amazing smell. Yeah, the doughboy is a regular in my recipe Hubs and some folks look for him to be doing something fun. Try kilt lettuce. You will love it!

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 24, 2012:

suzettenaples, this is rally savory but light and fresh. I did edit and put killed in the title so people wouldn't be so confused. But then again, that might draw a crowd. laugh Mountain dialect is very strong and in certain areas almost unintelligible to outsiders. In our areas though mostly it is a lazy way of skipping vowels. Aren't you glad we have fresh veggies and fruits? Gifts from God. Thanks for your great visit.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 24, 2012:

Dear Lily. Thanks so much. I really have always had good skin. I never had break outs as a teen and all of that ick. Some times in my childhood were not pretty but I choose to only remember the sweet and beautiful ones. I am glad you liked this one. Blessings upon you friend.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 24, 2012:

Dear Lily. Thanks so much. I really have always had good skin. I never had break outs as a teen and all of that ick. Some times in my childhood were not pretty but I choose to only remember the sweet and beautiful ones. I am glad you liked this one. Blessings upon you friend.

Brenda Barnes (author) from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on June 24, 2012:

Thank you Becky. I just remembered this today when we picked a huge mess of lettuce from the garden. It was so yummy especially since I have gone to a mostly raw diet. But I have something cooked and savory at least once a week and chose well on this one. I am so glad you liked it and the memories of my lovely ladies.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on June 24, 2012:

Wow! You had fried apple pies when you were a kid, too. I can't imagine "kilt lettuce". Looks like your little doughboy liked it. Your Grandma sounds like my Mama!

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on June 24, 2012:

This recipe sounds heavenly. I love greens and this sounds so good. I enjoy your childhood stories and memories. Both of my grandfathers had gardents at their homes in PA. And, like you, we used to eat tomatoes and onions, "scallions", right out of the garden. Those were the days! lol Thanks for a delicious and entertaining article.

For a chuckle, I do have to tell you this. I didn't understand the word "kilt". At first I thought it had something to do with the Scottish. I didn't realized it meant "dead lettuce." I love those Kentucky phrases and sayings.

Lillian K. Staats from Wasilla, Alaska on June 24, 2012:

Kilt lettuce, oh... Killed lettuce. This is why your skin is so beautiful, Hy. I'm going to say this is a healthy recipe, and love of greens has done you well.Love the backstory too! Your loving friend... lily

Becky Katz from Hereford, AZ on June 24, 2012:

Yet another of your old recipes that just make me want to eat. Wonderful hub and memories. Loved this.