December 27, 2013

Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens: a New Year's Tradition

There are a few things we take pretty seriously down here in the South. The first is college football. Can I get an Amen? Two other things we’re pretty serious about are tradition and superstition. And those last two go hand-in-hand on New Year’s Day.

It’s a Southern tradition to eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day for good luck in the new year. And more specifically, the superstition is that eating collard greens on New Year’s Day will bring you dollar bills and eating black-eyed peas will bring you cents throughout the upcoming year.

There are lots of theories as to why this is (some even dating back to ancient Egypt) but my favorite, and I think maybe most likely to be true, is that when Sherman’s troops raided the food supplies of the South during the Civil War, they stuck their noses up at the peas and greens and left them behind (they thought they were feed for the animals – what a bunch of dummies!). The Southerners considered themselves lucky to have been left with these hearty staples, which sustained them through the winters, so black-eyed peas and collard greens became symbols of good luck.

So every year, you can count on finding a big pot of black-eyed peas and a skillet of collard greens on almost every stove south of the Mason-Dixon line. I like to serve mine with a mess of Chicken Pilau or Neck Bones & Rice and a pan of skillet cornbread. Ooo-weee, don’t that all just sound good?! I’m ready to eat it all now!

My Southern New Year’s Day Menu
click the links below for the recipes

Why Southerners eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year's Day and recipes for both!
Black-Eyed Peas

Happy New Year’s, y’all!

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  1. I love the tradition !
    My parents have always been faithful in observing it !

  2. I make black-eyed peas and cornbread every year for Thanksgiving (not bad for a west coast gal) since moving to Utah I have a hard time finding collard greens.

  3. Chickens scratch backwards, they symbolize setbacks & regression. Pigs root forward, symbolizing progress, cows stand still. Pork plays a huge part in the traditional New Year's Day meal. Never ever chicken.

  4. I made my Hoppin' John with ham hocks and kale this year. Getting ready to have the leftovers in a few minutes. So I'm ready for all of the good luck that's coming my way in this new year. Happy New Year to everyone!!!

  5. Yes some of us here in Illinois also recognize the tradition. I will be having mine with Pork on New Years Day...Happy New Year Ya'll

    1. You've spelled it wrong...It's Ill-ANNOY! =8-0

  6. NC posting here. Of course pork, because pigs cannot look behind themselves without turning totally around. Hinse a new start for the New Year. Right? Love black eyed peas, collards and pork for New Years.

  7. Yes sir!! Made black eyed peas and rice, collards, corn bread and (what we spell) perlou, made with smoked sausage, chicken and oysters. Talk about slap yo pappy!! One observation, many people were you cooking for? There is no way I could fit my collards into a skillet!

    1. That all sounds delicious! I usually cook two bunches. I can't fit them all in at once, just add more to the skillet as they cook down. I think my skillet is 14-16 inches or so and about 4 inches deep.

  8. Yes sir, I made hoppin john, corn bread and collards. Even made (what we spell) perlou with Chicken, smoked sausage and oysters. Just wondering, how many were you cooking for? There's no way I could've fit my collards in a skillet!!


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