New Year’s Day in the South: It’s all about traditions and our ‘lucky’ foods

Black-eyed peas are a New Year's Day tradition for good fortune & prosperity.

Here in the south, we are hell-bent on consuming our traditional lucky foods on New Year’s Day. In particular, we’re partial to black-eyed peas. Tradition also dictates that we pair them with pork and greens, variations of which depend on the cook’s preference. In our home, it’s a smoked pork tenderloin (which The Complete Package has mastered) and cabbage stir-fried with bacon. According to folklore, the black-eyed peas represent coins and the greens represent paper money. In order to be blessed with good fortune and prosperity throughout the year, you should eat 365 peas (one for each day) and as much cabbage as your intestines can process (or the Beano wears off). Pork is also supposed to bring luck, although I’ve also heard that it represents progress, since pigs always move forward as they forage. Either way, we’re covered. To celebrate the new year, and to help share fortune and prosperity with all of you, I’m posting my favorite lucky black-eyed pea recipe.

NanaBread’s Texas Caviar:
• 2 cans of black-eyed peas, 15 ozs. each
• ¼ cup purple onion, finely minced
• 2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded & minced
• 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced
• 1 teaspoon season salt (Penzey’s or Lawry’s)
• ¼ cup red wine vinegar
• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
• ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
• Additional salt & pepper, to taste

Drain and rinse the black-eyed peas and dump them into a mixing bowl. Add the minced onion, peppers, garlic, season salt, vinegar and olive oil. Toss to combine and taste to determine if additional salt and pepper is needed. (Note: I like to use Penzey’s 4/S season salt, and I use a combination of the regular AND the spicy version of it.) Once you have the seasonings right, toss in the chopped cilantro. Stir to combine, pour into an air-tight container with a tight-fitting lid and place in the refrigerator to chill. This is served as a cold salad, but I like to take it out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes before serving. Of course, it can also be served up immediately, or you can let it marinate in the fridge overnight. Either way, it’s delicious. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can serve this as a dip with a big bag of tortilla chips.

As a side note, I just read that foods in the shape of a circle are considered good luck for the New Year. Thank you, Jesus! Now I can add donuts to my New Year’s Day menu without guilt. This is going to be the BEST…YEAR….EVER!!!

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3 Comments

Filed under Food & Recipes

3 responses to “New Year’s Day in the South: It’s all about traditions and our ‘lucky’ foods

  1. Ha! I’m all about the round foods (donuts, cheese, chicken nuggets, hamburgers…must I go on?) Thanks for the Southern recipe. This northern girl has never even tried black-eyed peas! You’ve taught me something new for the New Year! Hope you have a wonderful night! :)

    • Thanks, Kandi, and back atcha. With all those round foods, you’re destined to be the luckiest girl in the world. Don’t forget to add cookies, Ding-Dongs, and Egg McMuffins to your list. We could also add peas, lentils and carrots, but what fun is that? Happy New Year, and best wishes for a fabulous 2011. I can’t wait to see what you, JD, the girls and little Mr. Naughty get into in the coming year.

  2. Pingback: Our Perfect Meal | Inside NanaBread's Head

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