Many cultures ring in the new year by eating food they believe will bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. The tradition is handed down from mama or papa to their kids through decades and centuries of family dinners. Some have forgotten the reason behind the tradition, while others regale via verbal history their beliefs while enjoying the meal so as not to forget or lose the tradition.
While growing up, my family wasn’t consistent in serving the traditional dinner, but when they did it was from the American South. I’d have expected the traditional foods to be from Wales, since mom’s father immigrated from there as a child, or Ireland from her mama’s family, but it seems when they settled in Corpus Christi, they adopted their new land’s customs with a fervor.
In a traditional Southern family, you can expect to be served Hoppin’ John (black-eyes peas) and cornbread for dinner, along with other edibles like collard greens or a pecan, buttermilk or sweet potato pie, and scads of other savory dishes.
Delish Buttermilk Pie:
Black-eyed peas are said to resemble pennies (the dark spot on the white bean) and are considered stacking the deck for good luck during the year because of their appearance and their abundance. They’re called Skippin’ Jenny when eaten on the 2nd, to show a person’s ability to save a dime (or more in this economy) and invite prosperity for the coming year.
Another tasty treat, also eaten for prosperity because its color resembles gold, is cornbread. Want to help lock down that good luck? Add corn kernels, representing gold nuggets. Can’t hurt!
Cornbread hot out of the oven!
The best cornbread recipe I’ve tried is right on the back of the box of cornmeal.
I must say, I never acquired a taste for black-eyes peas and don’t serve it. I’ve tried on numerous occasions. I suppose I could make something else – chili for instance – and just put a handful of the peas in it. Think that would count? Now, for cornbread! I bake that all year and serve warm with dollops of butter and drizzled with blackstrap molasses or honey. Yum!
For more New Year’s meal traditions, visit Woman’s Day Good Luck Recipes.
Whatever you do, whether for tradition or just because, here’s to health, happiness, prosperity – and love.