Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

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Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:37 pm

Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Okay, let me be the first to say that I'm a skeptic. Eating black-eyed peas (coins!?) and greens (folding money?!) on New Year's Day is supposed to bring you wealth and prosperity in the New Year? Heck, I don't even like black-eyed peas, and even kale, despite its modern reputation as a "superfood," ranks only about 87th on my Favorite Vegetables list.

But a person near and dear to me grew up with this legend and, even though it obviously hasn't worked so far through many New Years together, we keep on trying.

Today I decided to play with my food a little, so plated my beans-and-greens as a little yin-yang symbol with decorative dots of hot sauce and black pepper. Hey, it could work!

How about you? Do you follow this or similar regional or cultural food practices, like Hoppin' John (which I like even less) to bring fame, fortune, good luck or other good things on the first day of the year?
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Re: Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:25 pm

I've never had black eyed peas and greens together, nor followed that tradition on New Years Day. We do have a tradition of sorts. It started out eating my mothers beef spare ribs, but I like the baby back pork ribs better. Gene, a former meat cutter and owner of the business said he did not like eating bones. He has since changed his mind because the ribs I make are darn good. So, I used to fix the ribs each New Years to satisfy my craving. Then it was fried chicken because we gave up fried foods along the way, so I made that once a year until I discovered I could make a healthier and crispier version in the oven, that we liked better. So a few years ago, we decided to make one of the dips we used to have that were so popular long ago, like onion dip, clam dip or the Leek, spinach, water chestnut dip in a bread bowl. So this year we decided on the bread bowl dip. I made us a healthy juice drink this morning using fresh spinach, apple, blueberries, raspberries, and fresh lemon. We'll skip lunch, and snack on the bread bowl dip while we watch a movie. This once a year indulgnece satisfies my cravings for foods we never eat anymore. Last year we made clam dip. Don't know what next year will bring. :)
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Re: Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Postby Frank Deis » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:09 pm

My breakfast looked a lot like your picture, Robin. Except it included scrambled eggs and a small serving of grits, and the greens were collards.

I decided it is better to serve the black eyed peas "wet" in a bowl, since after cooking (with bacon and garlic and seasonings) most of the flavor is in the juice, and the beans themselves are a little plain and boring. The same is true of the collards, the "pot liquor" has tons of flavor, the leaves, not as much. I cooked the collards with garlic, sliced leek, chicken broth, and bacon -- and added a tablespoon of butter, remembering a recipe from last year... eating the dry leaves you miss most of that.

I have followed this custom since grad school, but I didn't grow up with it. I think my parents occasionally served black eyed peas on New Years Day but they were sketchy about it. When I first moved to New Jersey in 1972, nobody here knew what black eyed peas were and I had to remember to buy them when I was in Virginia. Forty years of "food revolution" have changed things so that it's kind of rare for me to encounter an ingredient I can't find, no matter what the cuisine.
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Re: Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Postby Dale Williams » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:47 pm

well, I certainly don't believe it, but I grew up in South so I do it every year (kind of like turkey on Thanksgiving)
I was in Atlanta on Christmas and brought back this recipe, thought it was a "do again" ( no fresh peas, so I made dried in pressure cooker)
http://www.ajc.com/news/entertainment/f ... ner/nb6Bt/

We did collards with pine nuts, though I grew up mostly with turnip greens or spinach.
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Re: Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:19 pm

Our traditional New Year's Eve revolves around a different theme every year, so we don't stick with any particular tradition as far as food goes. The one menu item that is eternal for us is spam musubi. One of the people in our group has made this every year we've gotten together because everyone (especially the kids) likes it so much. We eat it as an appetizer on New Year's Eve and for breakfast on New Year's Day.

I think what we need to do is invent our own tie-in between spam musubi and wealth and good fortune. Maybe each grain of rice can represent unexpected money coming in?

"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a very narrow field" - Niels Bohr
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Re: Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Postby Jenise » Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:42 pm

Didn't grow up with the tradition and didn't even know of it until the surprising adult discovery that my dear and deeply religious (Christian Scientist) grandmother, who I thought I knew everything about, quietly and determinedly ate a bowl of black eyed peas every New Years Day in hopes of getting Big Money. Grammy had three ways of classifying personal wealth, which she never personally had: "no money, money, and big money". And living on Social Security, she was past the point of expecting any changes, and yet she persisted--more than likely on behalf of her grandchildren. In her honor, we keep up with the tradition, making a brothy bean soup much like Frank describes though in fact we were gone the last two days and weren't able to work that in. Wonder if 'late' counts?
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Re: Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Postby Hoke » Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:06 pm

Well, being southern, yeah, we had the hoppin' john tradition, but in our family it was more a tidewater/red clay version of black eyed peas cooked with sidemeat or pork hocks, collard greens and white rice, usually served up with raw chopped onions.

Funny thing, when my Pacific Northwest never-been-in-the Southeast-in-her-life asked about my food traditions and I mentioned Hoppin' John (with the coins and dollars backstory), she asked me to make it our first NYE celebration.

I proceeded to do so---and immediately got into a rather vituperative argument with her...she's what you might call obsessive in her desire to control and have things done the way she thinks things should be done---and when I got to the part of adding raw onions, that appalled her, and she started telling me why I shouldn't do that, and how I should proceed. Being somewhat stubborn in my own passive-aggressive way, I, um, took umbrage at being told how to properly prepare my ancestral dish by someone who had never done so and knew nothing about said dish or preparation standards. Things escalated, and almost got to the stomping-out-of-the-house or throwing dishes phase, but we managed to to pull back from the brink. Still, the entire subject of hoppin' john was not discussed for several years.

This January 1 my wife quietly made a rather delicious chicken soup,loaded with greens, black eyed peas and some rice.

The onions, however, had of course been lightly sweated prior to making the soup. :D

I made sure to comment how delicious the soup was. Onions were not mentioned by either of us.
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Re: Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Postby Jenise » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:59 pm

Hoke, great story. And a happy ending too!
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Re: Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Postby Frank Deis » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:57 pm

Jenise wrote:my dear and deeply religious (Christian Scientist) grandmother, who I thought I knew everything about, quietly and determinedly ate a bowl of black eyed peas every New Years Day in hopes of getting Big Money.


I love this story!!! :D

I never connected it to money, I ate this breakfast for years before I realized what it was about -- but I probably do connect it to "luck"

And no, Jenise, I don't think it matters if you are late. Even though I ate my first spoonfuls of black eyed peas and collards at 12:10 AM on January 1. Maybe I'll be luckier -- maybe not.
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Re: Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Postby Doug Surplus » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:28 pm

I've not eaten black-eyed peas since I was a kid and my Mom decided to make "Hoppin' John" without adjusting the recipe for our family size. We had to deal with the stuff for nearly a week before it was all gone. I like beans, but will not go near a black-eyed pea ever again!
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Re: Black eyed peas and greens for New Year's fortune?

Postby Carl Eppig » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:30 pm

Don't let Winger know you're eating that stuff; he'll call you a Red Neck!
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