Southern New Year’s Day Meal

20130101_192020In 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.




About kimberly kelly

I have been in media my whole life, a decade of Morning Radio Shows & a decade of Hosting Television Shows both cable & affiliate. Food is a passion & after sharing this BLOG with viewers... it kinda' grew a life of it's own. Nothing fancy t's just me - sharing what generation(s) in my family & friends & those in travels along the way shared. Food is an expression of ones self and a humble offering to loved ones. One of the best expressions of love. You get "One Trip"... skimp on the material things in life, food is your lifeline though -never skimp on your food! Food can be a positive affect on your health, but also the power to make one feel love. I hope I can show you some of both. Growing & cooking outdoors, is a reminder where our food should come... the ground & not just a shelf.
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2 Responses to Southern New Year’s Day Meal

  1. John Rogers says:

    Great video and super great looking food. My parents always told us to eat our black eyed peas, collards because of the greenbacks and change (coins) thing. They also told us that the hog jowls were for prosperity. I never understood why eating hog jowls would make you prosperous, but I love smoked hog jowls.

    My parents usually planted mostly Purple Hull peas, but would always plant enough black eyed peas for New Year’s Day. For the past 3 or 4 years I have bought a can of Hoppin’ John for New Year’s Day.

    I love a good glass or small bowl of cornbread and buttermilk with a little black pepper or onion.

    I’ve never been a fan of rutabaga, but I buy purple top turnips, wash them, peel them and eat them raw.

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