In the South we know what we will be eating on New Years Day… Beans & Greens. The video above will show some of what that might look like. There is much more served with this and much more to the reason why. Let’s start with the “why”.
Southern Living Magazine wrote this, “…According to folklore, this auspicious New Year’s Day tradition dates back to the Civil War, when Union troops pillaged the land, leaving behind only black-eyed peas and greens as animal fodder. Rich in nutrients, these were the humble foods that enabled Southerners to survive.”
Most other sources have a close tale… adding the Greens represent the “Greenbacks” or paper money and the Peas represent the coins. The humble dish, was eaten as a reminder that things would get better in the new year. I guess you could call it a culinary resolution. Humble it may be, but it is also one of my all time favorite meals!
Where did we get the “Black eyed Pea” …it wasn’t native to here. It is thought to be Asian, but first domesticated in West Africa. So this very dish is a celebration America’s melting pot… and turning bad into good.
Soul food. Why do they call it soul food? Well, since I grew up on it… the very smell feels good to my soul. But I also imagine that because off all the sweat, toil and hard work that got it to your table. It takes a lot of love to work that hard to feed the ones you love… and love feeds the soul.
The video is not a measured recipe… but it was never measured by anyone before me. It shows the basic how to, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Here are a few tips:
-WASH greens good… most are grown in sandy soil and sand is never good to bite down on.
-Chow-Chow… is best homemade or bought from someone else who home made it.In a pinch, *Braswell’s (the brand) is close. *available at Ingles Supermarkets
-Hot Pepper Vinegar is SO EASY to make… and is not the same as bought white vinegar copys. Put your washed peppers in a bottle… boil the apple cider vinegar and poor over the peppers. DONE (though for heat, it needs to sit) and can last you through the year.
-I LOVE rutabaga turnip with mine… My Grandmother would cook it in salt, pepper, bacon fat & sugar. Good Lord, it was like candy- so good! Later in life I realized that it is delishious chopped in bite size peices and baked w/ olive oil and salt. I also found my family loves it BEST… raw. Yes it taste like a crispy apple. Great Snack.
-There are more than one type of pea. I actually used “Purple Hulls” in the video above… they look alot like a black eyed pea.
-Left over corn bread is wonderful crumbled up in Buttermilk
-The newly found “Muscadine Juice” is available at Ingles Supermarkets & has wonderful health benefits.
Have another tradition? Share it below.