And time to cook the traditional collards, black-eyed peas, and smoked hog jowl -- another of my Alabama-bred grandmother's traditions. The collards, simmered in chicken broth with onion, hot pepper, and slices of the smoked pork, are eaten "to put green money in your pocket" in the coming year. The fatty hog jowl is for good fortune, probably coming from a time when any sort of meat was scarce and fat was a source of energy, not a scary taboo.
The black-eyed peas, also cooked with the hog jowl, bring good luck. Some folks say you need to eat 365 peas (366 on Leap Years), to ensure luck each and every day. We make ours into Hoppin' John , a savory mixture of rice and onions and peas, whose name may derive from a creole dish made with pigeon peas -- thus au pigeon.
May your New Year be full of good things, whatever tradition you follow!
LV - January 2012
8 years ago