As McMahon picked up her veggies in Hopkins' parking garage last week, she chatted with a colleague about how she might prepare her first batch of chard.
"I think it's good with balsamic vinegar," McMahon theorized because she'd dressed beet greens that way.
Dr. Kawasar Talaat, a vaccine researcher, suggested adding frozen cherries and red onions, based on a recipe in her Moosewood cookbook, a classic vegetarian tome.
Diane Adams, a volunteer who coordinates the food program for Mattie B., also started her recipe research in the Hopkins garage, where she picks up produce for the shelter.
"How do you fix your kale?" she recalled asking one man. "He said, 'Oh, I just sauteed it for a few minutes and I ate it.' "
And that's where this unlikely cultural exchange reached its limit.
To Adams, greens are something to be boiled for half an hour or more, which is just what the shelter's paid cook, the Rev. Harrison Geter, wound up doing. A quick saute sounded "raw" to Adams.
"That's not something I'd do with kale," she said.