Jacqueline Ware was born and bred in Brooklyn, New York in 1935. One of seven sisters and a brother, Jackie learnt to cook watching her Mother and Grandmother in the kitchen. All the sisters in her family specialise in one or two particular dishes. Jackie’s is renown for her potato salad, collard greens and fried chicken. An accomplished painter and gardener, Jackie now lives in New Jersey with her husband Bill Ware Jr. She has two daughters, a son and three grandchildren.

Soul food recipes are often fiercely guarded by families. Children learn from their parents and grandparents by watching them closely in the kitchen. Recipes are rarely written down and cups, bowls, spoons and other measuring implements are never used. Everything is made to taste.

Back in the day, most soul food dishes were made with lard or pork fat and consequently extremely high in fat. Jackie Ware’s Grandmother used to cook her collard greens with ham hocks and her Mother used “fat back”, (the fatty part of a pig’s back) but Mrs Ware cooks her collard greens with smoked turkey wings or in chicken broth – much healthier and just as tasty. Collard greens are an excellent source of iron.

Mother Ware’s Collard Greens
4-6 bunches collard greens, cleaned and steamed
5 slices bacon
1 smoked ham hock
1 large chopped onion
1 bunch green onions
7 cups water
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

  • Lay collard greens on top of each other, (no more then 4 at a time) roll and then cut in half with a knife
  • Cut even smaller if you have large leaves. Line the bottom of a large stock pot with the bacon
  • Cook on medium heat until done, obtaining as much bacon grease as possible
  • Add the water to the stock pot and the grease and bring to a boil. Now add the 1/2 of the chopped onion, ham hock, pepper and salt to taste. Let mixture boil for 10 minutes
  • Add the collard greens, other half of the onions and more salt and pepper to taste if desired to the stock pot
  • Rapidly boil for 45 minutes. Reduce heat and let simmer for 4-6 hours. Serve with green onions