From grand southern galas to down home get togethers, Black Eyed Peas are sure to be on the menu on January 1st. It is said (in the south at least) that if it is the first food to be eaten on New Year's Day, then it will bring you luck and prosperity in the new year.
The practice of eating black-eyed peas for luck is generally believed to date back to the Civil War. Apparently, the fields of black-eyed peas were ignored as Sherman's troops destroyed or stole other crops, making the black-eyed pea an abundant food source for surviving Confederates. Thus the idea that the peas will bring luck and prosperity...
According to About.com, the prosperity theme has been embellished in many different ways, including:
- Served with greens or cabbage, the peas represent coins and the greens/cabbage represent paper money.
- Cornbread, often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold.
- For the best chance of luck every day in the year ahead, one must eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. (Whew, that's a lot of peas!)
- Black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent wealth and health.
- Adding a shiny penny or dime to the pot just before serving is another tradition practiced by some. When served, the person whose bowl contains the penny or dime receives the best luck for the New Year, unless of course, the recipient swallows the coin, which would be a rather unlucky way to start off the year
So how are you gonna serve these famous peas??
- Hoppin' John is one of the most traditional New Year's Eve and New Year's Day dishes in the South. Black-eyed peas are cooked with rice, pork and seasonings. Sometimes chopped onions and hot sauce are added. See some Hoppin' John Recipes here.
- Texas Caviar is a popular alternative to traditional black-eyed peas and is usually served with tortilla chips. See some Texas Black-Eyed Pea Caviar Dip Recipes here.
- Black-Eyed Pea Salad is a good choice for a side dish served with other dishes. See some Black-Eyed Peas Salad Recipes here.
If you don't want to eat Black Eyed Peas, you could at least decorate with them...
Thanks to pizzazzerie.com for this black eyed pea party inspiration!!
Good Luck in 2011 everyone...