Sunday, January 2, 2011

Food For Good Luck

Ever since I was a kid I've  always eaten black-eyed peas on New Year's Day to bring good luck throughout the new year.  My Mom always cooked them and served corn bread with them.  Most people in the south also fix greens of some kind, mustard greens, collards greens,  turnip greens , kale or chard.
One name for the peas cooked on New Year's Day is Hoppin' John, where the peas are cooked with a piece of pork and rice.  My cousin Lola says that's what she cooks.
I love corn bread, but Mac doesn't so I generally don't  cook any, nor do either of us care for greens.  But we do love the black-eyed peas, so I cooked a pot of them yesterday, with stewed tomatoes and leftover beef from the prime rib we'd had at Christmas.  I made enough for a couple of days, we really like them.
There are many theories about where this good luck meal came from and the one I know is that this was a good luck meal brought over by the Sephardic Jews who settled in Georgia in the 1730's and was adopted by non-Jews during the Civil War when finding any food was lucky.
It is said that the peas swelling up during cooking symbolizes prosperity, the greens symbolize money and the pork, because pigs root forward, symbolizes forward or positive motion.
Some of that's a bit of a stretch, but I do cook them every year and when my daughter said she hadn't been able to get any to cook and would I eat some for her I said yes, but she'd better track some down soon if she wanted 2011 to be a good year.


  1. I've read about this American tradition before but have never had black-eyed peas myself as far as I know. They may have a different name in the UK of course but when I try to Google for a UK equivalent all I get are endless sites about some hip hop group!

  2. Rowan, add food to black-eyed peas when you do your Google search.


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