In the Southern United States, it's traditional to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky.
A couple of years ago I found a recipe for black-eyed pea salad and it has become a part of our New Year’s meal.
Good Luck Salad
juice of 1 lime
2 cups baby spinach, torn into bite size pieces
1 (15 0z.) can black-eyed peas, drained & rinsed well
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
hot pepper sauce, to taste (I use Crystal hot sauce)
Combine all ingredients.
May be chilled or served at room temperature.
A BIT OF TRIVIA, if you are interested.
Today, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for the New Year has evolved into a number of variations and embellishments of the luck and prosperity theme including:
- Served with greens (collards, mustard or turnip greens, which varies regionally), the peas represent coins and the greens 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.
- Black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent wealth and health.
- In some areas, actual values are assigned with the black-eyed peas representing pennies or up to a dollar each and the greens representing anywhere from one to a thousand dollars.
- Adding a shiny penny to the pot just before serving is another tradition practiced by some. When served, the person whose bowl contains the penny 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.
What traditional foods do y’all eat on New Year’s Day?
Wishing you blessings and prosperity in the New Year,