A New Year is finally upon us and I, like so many, have those New Year’s Resolutions I will share with you in a moment. But first I would like to share a southern tradition that I do every year. I would like to incorporate diving on New year’s Day every year but it is too bloody cold for me right now.
The practice of eating black-eyed peas for luck is generally believed to date back to the Civil War. At first planted as food for livestock, and later a food staple for slaves in the South, the fields of black-eyed peas were ignored as Sherman’s troops destroyed or stole other crops, thereby giving the humble, but nourishing, black-eyed pea an important role as a major food source for surviving Confederates. I delved a little further and found on wikipedia that it actually started at Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, as recorded in their records, “Abave said, now that you have established that good-luck symbols avail, you should make it a habit to see qara (bottle gourd), rubiya (black-eyed peas, Arabic lubiya), kartei (leeks), silka (either beets or spinach), and tamrei (dates) on your table on the New Year.” However, the custom may have resulted from an early mistranslation of the Aramic word rubiya .
In the South, served with greens (I use collard), the peas represent coins and the greens represent paper money. Therefore it is supposed to represent wealth. In some areas cabbage is used in place of the greens.
Cornbread, often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold.
Hog Jowls or ham are added and they represent health, wealth, prosperity and the forward motion and progress in your life. Unfortunately, eating lobster on New Year’s Day would be bad luck as they move backward and we don’t want any backsliding or backward motion in our life. Chicken is bad too as they scratch backward which could casue regret or dwelling in the past. Some people also think eating any type of bird would be bad as they can fly away and this could symbolize your good luck, fortune or prosperity getting away from you. So, put down the chicken….please!
Depending on regions some believe that you must eat 365 black eyed peas on New year’s Day. Eat less, those days are bad luck, eat more. 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. I like that I am going to have two plates full today.
If you believe in the southern tradition, you have to eat a little bit of all four dishes or your luck will not stick. Adding a shiny penny or dime to the pot just before serving is supposed to bring extra luck to the luck soul who finds it. When served, the person whose bowl contains the penny or dime receives the best luck for the New Year. Sort of like finding the King in the Mardi Gras king cake.
Soon after I finish this post, I am going to pour a coffee and start my greens. My peas soaked overnight as I have been told by many old southern gals that to cheat and boil them for an hour will bring bad luck and they need to soak from one year to the next overnight to bring prosperity.
My peas are cooked with one pound of peas, ham bone and diced ham, a bit of garlic, stick of butter, chopped fresh tomatoes (about 3) and a 1/2 onion. As many of my fellow readers know, I am not a rules or measuring cup kind of gal. I start my broth at about noon and all is ready about 4pm. I also added a couple shakes of black pepper, a shake of cumin and a touch of blackened seasoning. I leave them cook for about an hour and half. I serve and cook my greens on the side as I like the pot liquor with my cornbread. Greens I use are collards. I start with a bit of diced ham and 1/2 onion diced. Approx 6 cups, I also add two squeezes of ketchup, 3 squeezes of spicy brown mustard plus two stalks of celery leftover from the mornings Bloody Mary’s. After broth boils down for about one hours on high, I throw in the big middles stalks of the green first for an hour, then add the tender leaves for an hour after. I love and savor the pot liquor juice. For you Yanks that is the juice the greens are cooked in, high in iron, that I dip my tasty cornbread in.
So with that said my New Years’ resolutions in no particular order:
- Try to dive at least once a week.
- Blog daily
- Learn about a new sea creature or ocean wonder once a day.
- Walk at least a 1/2 hour a day
- Get fitter and hopefully live forever
- Not be so critical or cynical about the human race
- Show my teenager I love him daily
- Appreciate my husband more
- Stop and smell the roses
- Find at least one joyful day thing in my day
I tried to be realistic…no losing 50 pounds or quit drinking, or give up chocolate. I think sometimes us silly humans forget to appreciate the things you can’t put in the bank, or physically touch like love and inner peace. While that makes me sound a bit hippy dippy, I think it has just been a lifelong rat race for me until recently that has made me realize there is so much more than money. 2012 past year was full of news for me such leaving the retail stores behind and letting go more. Reaching 1459 views of this blog on Nov 30th in one day (thanks!). Working from home and on the road and learning to live and love life more freely.
Happy New Year to everyone one! May 2013 bring you health, wealth, love and happiness in all you do. Dive more, love the ones you are blessed to be with and be free!