Tuesday, January 1, 2008

What to Eat Today

Everyone knows that there are certain foods that one absolutely must eat on New Years Day, in order to assure good luck for the rest of the year.

They just don't all agree on exactly what those foods are.

Growing up in southeast Texas, the traditional New Years fare included black-eyed peas, ham, cabbage, cornbread and rice.

The peas were for good luck, the cabbage for money, and the rest for tastiness with black-eyed peas.

(Although, one year Anonydaddy told us that cornbread is also for money, because it's "gold." I like that theory.)

At some point, I learned that most of the south refers to black-eyed peas and rice as "hoppin' john," but I'd never heard that term when I lived down there.

I think we generally just called that dish "black-eyed peas," actually, the "and rice" being a given for any kind of bean.

When I was younger, I wasn't particularly found of the black-eyed peas, but would eat a few bites to insure some luck. I'd usually choke down a tiny bit of cabbage, too, but I sure didn't like it.

Over the years, the peas grew on me and I actually kind of enjoyed them - especially the way Anonymama makes them (I believe there's a ham hock involved) and with some rice and ham and crumbled-up cornbread mixed in.

But then I got cocky and in 1991 I skipped them on New Years Day. Within a few weeks, I was diagnosed with a serious and potentially life-threatening kidney disease.

I swore that I'd never go pealess again.

When we moved to BlueState, an area with a strong German influence, I found that the traditional New Years Day meal here is pork and saurkraut (very different, of course, from the ham and cabbage that Anonymama serves) and that I was on my own to find some black-eyed peas.

A couple of years ago, we had some friends over for a party on New Years Day and I actually cooked up a big pot but - all our friends being Yankees and not understanding the importance of the pea - I was about the only one who ate any.

Now, I generally just buy a can and pop them in the microwave. They aren't as tasty as Anonymama's, but I'm hoping they're still effective.

As for the rest of the meal, I'm all about the ham and rice and cornbread, but the cabbage is a tough one for me. I don't like to eat it, and I really don't like to smell it cooking.

But, I've found a work-around. The year that we had the party, I did a bit of reasearch to see what other good-luck foods I could serve, and I stumbled across something saying that you're suppose to eat "greens" for money.

Greens! It turns out that anything green and leafish will do, it doesn't have to be cabbage! I'm saved!

So, we served a spinach dip.

Today, I heated up my can of black-eyed peas, made a pan of cornbread, and served it with rice and a spinach salad. Shrike's not a big ham fan, and it's hard to buy just a little bit, so we skipped that.

Shrike doesn't like the peas, either, but our fates are entwined, so I make her eat a few each year.

She choked down one little bite, but I ate a significant amount (well, significant for my little teeny tummy). She had about three bowls of spinach, though, so she can bring in the big bucks, and I'll handle the luck.

I also set the recently deChristmasified table all fancy-like, and we had some more of last night's "champagne" (sparkling wine). We were a little underdressed, in our sweats and longjohns, but it was very nice.

Oh, and earlier today, I had an eggroll - with cabbage!


  1. Big Galoot is about to have black eyed peas.

  2. Black-eyed peas - check

    Cabbage - check

    Ham - check

    Rolls (Kiddo #1's request)- check

    Rice (for me, kiddos skipped this, but I needed me some rice) - check

    Thank you Kiddo #2 who cooked it all!

  3. LK - Sounds like you're all set for a great year, then!

    Anonymama - Yep, I took several photos of the table, but chose that one to post because that's the one in which Galoot got caught!

  4. Originally it seemed Big Galoot was enjoying some salad that I was feeding him leaf by leaf. However, upon closer examination, Big Galoot was taking them into his mouth and dropping them on the floor. I don't understand this as both he and PerfectPup eat greens in the fields. I don't even know what is growing there right now. I assume it is some kind of cover crop. But they were eating it today.


What say you?