Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Why Southerners Eat Black-Eyed Peas New Year’s Day

While I had a very southern father and I was born south of the Mason-Dixon Line, I lived in the north most my life.  My father was the cook in the family when I grew up and he often served Back-Eyed Peas.  I don’t remember specifically eating them on New Year’s Day, but then again, I was a kid.

So, fast forward to 2001 and we move from New Jersey to Tennessee and I started hearing things like, “Don’t forget to get your Black-Eyed Peas for New Year’s Day.”  Well, I began to wonder if that food was magical or were we only allowed to cook it that day?  Heck, there are lots of southern traditions I don’t have a clue about.

Eventually I found out that you (we) eat them for wealth.  Other sources say you eat them for good luck.   Who would go against tradition when you might get rich or have good luck! I try to remember to follow this tradition, only because I feel I have enough bad luck so if eating a few Black-Eyed Peas will erase the bad I’m all for it.  Of course, I know that what we eat or don’t eat has nothing to do with good, bad or no luck at all, but I’ll play along.

I will say I’m not a true southerner, therefore, I do not buy dry beans and go through that whole process.  I cheat – I buy a can of Bush’s Black-Eyed Pea…it works for me.  To be honest I do like them, but my husband wants no part of them.  He is allergic to peas and he assumes black-eyed peas are peas…which they aren’t.  You try to tell him that, I have been trying for 15 years.  Black-eyes peas are beans, not peas in case anyone else is curious.

Once I got to the point I could remember to buy a can, then I found out I’m supposed to be eating ‘collards’ with them.  Hum, that’s a different ball of wax if there ever was one.  I like Spinach and Swiss Chard, those are my greens. I have tried all the southern greens but they aren’t for me.

If I only get a little good luck since I only eat the one traditional New Year’s Day food I figure it’s better than nothing, right?!  If you look in my pantry you will see the one and only can of Bush’s Black-Eyed Peas.  Now the next hard part –  to remember to open the can on January 1, 2017.

If you find yourself traveling down south on New Year’s Day and spot Black-Eyed Peas on the menu you will know what they are and why they are… might even give that ‘luck/wealth’ thing some serious thought!

If you would like to find out more about Black-Eyes Peas and how they found a place in history – check out the links:

Photo of Black-Eyes Peas belongs to AbbyG
Other photos courtesy of  Pixabay

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