Superstitions abound on New Year’s Day. In my family I always make a big pot of Black-eyed peas with tomatoes and rice for luck, but why are they lucky?
Well, in the south the story goes that when Sherman’s troops raided the south they took everything but the black-eyed peas, which they considered animal food. So the southerners made it through the winter on black-eyed peas. They were lucky and they credited the black-eyed peas.
Since I grew up in the south, that theory works for me, but my parents from whom I got this superstition were northerners and their parents came from Greece so none of my ancestors were around when the Southerners were eating those peas.
While we are talking about my Greek ancestors I’ve always been told that a man has to be the first visitor on New Year’s Day. My grandmother would not open the door unless it was a man. My mother always a rule breaker, made my brothers go outside and come back in just to be safe. They weren’t men but hey they had that Y Chromosome so it worked for her.
So just to be safe I guess I will go soak those dried black-eyed peas now. I mean why push my luck right?
What about you, what do you do for New Year’s Day?
Black-eyed peas with tomatoes and rice recipe
Bag of dried black eyed peas, soaked overnight as per the package instructions
I cup of white rice
Two cans of diced tomatoes
Clove of garlic finely chopped
¼ cup of finely chopped onions
Soak the peas overnight. Add water to cover peas and bring to a boil. Simmer till the peas are tender. Meanwhile cook rice as package directs. In a small saucepan add a bit of oil and cook onions and garlic till just tender. Do not brown. Add the rice, garlic, onion and two cans of diced tomatoes to the peas. Add salt and pepper to taste, simmer till hot throughout. The black-eyed peas get better with each heating as the flavors meld.