Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Friday, January 1, 2016

Black Eyed Peas and New Years

What will you be eating on New Years Day?  I live in the South and tradition has it that you eat black eyed peas, collards, and pork.  I have done this all my life.  My mom gave in and let me eat turnip greens instead of collards and she would always make pork chops, or ribs, or even cook a ham.   This morning I watched the Today show and they talked about food traditions and why we eat what we eat on New Years.  I never thought about it before but their story was very interesting.  We eat:  1. Pork -  It seems the expression "high on the hog" refers to the choice cuts of pork, those from the loin, shoulder and upper leg, long reserved for the elite. The "low on the hog" cuts like belly, trotters and offal were left for poor folk. Not so today—it's all good for all folks! So naturally, pork, with its rich, delicious fattiness has come to symbolize wealth and prosperity. With so many options, sausage, ribs, bacon, ham, suckling pig...etc there's no reason not to be in "hog heaven" for at least one day.   We are not Italian, but I had several Italian friends and they ate 2. Lentils  - It seems lentils on New Year's for wealth and prosperity because the flat legumes were believed to resemble Roman coins. They're traditionally served with—you guessed it—pork—this time in the form of a huge sausage called cotechino that simmers with the lentils. I guess this would be the Italian version of Black Eyed Peas.  My Japanese friends eat 3. Soba Noodles - In Japan, they signify long life, but only if you eat them without breaking or chewing them. Slurp these long noodles in one piece for a good long life, or at the very least, a very tasty meal.   Now for the traditions I know.  In the south number 4. Black-Eyed Peas are a must. There are several different thoughts on why black-eyed peas have come to symbolize good luck. In America, the prevailing folklore dates back to the Civil War era, when black-eyed peas, also known as field peas, were used to feed grazing cattle. During the Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi in the late spring of 1863, the town was cut off from all food supplies for nearly two months. The people were close to starvation and resorted to eating the crops previously reserved for feeding their livestock. If it weren't for the lowly "cowpeas" (as they're also known) many people wouldn't have survived. Lucky or resourceful, those folks created one tasty tradition! Sometimes my mom would make a stew with them and put in some sausage.  The other thing you will find on a southern table at New Years would be 5. Greens Greens...greenbacks...moola? Makes sense. Leafy greens resemble folded paper money symbolizing wealth and prosperity. Pair them with black-eyed peas and ham for a truly Southern New Year's tradition (both high on the luck spectrum) and triple your luck for the year. So, what do you and your family eat on New Year's Day?  Whatever you do I wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Years!

1 comment:

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Very interesting facts. Thank you for sharing them. I did eat some leftover Country Style Pork Ribs on New Year's Day! The noodles sound good but I'm sure I would gag trying to get them down in one piece. Your pairing with the greens sounds like it might be a tasty meal.