Black-Eyed Peas: A Southern Good Luck Meal
Boy oh boy, the things you learn as you prepare to write an article. For the sake of this article we will assume that most of you know that a meal of Black-eyed Peas is a good luck tradition on New Year’s Day, but do you know where that tradition comes from? Well read on and prepare to be educated.
As with all traditions there are several different beliefs as to where the black-eyed peas tradition came from. Some believe it originated in a Jewish tradition based on passages from the Talmud and brought to the United States when the Sephardi Jews arrived in Georgia in the 1730’s; this Jewish practice was then adopted by non-Jews during the Civil War.
Others believe it originated during the Civil War when Union troops led by General Sherman destroyed everything but field peas and field corn because they were only suitable for livestock; thus those foods were left for the Southern citizens to eat.
Whatever the source of the tradition, the meal usually consists of peas cooked with a pork product for flavoring. The peas, because they swell, symbolize prosperity; the mustard greens, also traditional, symbolize money; the pork stands for the forward motion of pigs when foraging; and cornbread, when served, stands for gold or wealth. Some also believe that 365 peas should be consumed on New Year’s Day to provide good luck and prosperity each day of the year, and that this special meal should be the first food eaten on that day.
So that brings us to Chef Point Café and our New Year’s Day special of Black-eyed Peas and Ham. Now there may be some Doubting Thomas-types who don’t think a Nigerian-born chef can prepare a traditional Southern meal, but those people have never tasted Chef Franson’s famous Bread Pudding or Better-Than-Sex Fried Chicken; if they had they would have no doubt that “The Peoples’ Chef” can prepare any Southern classic and make it taste better than anything Grandma ever cooked.
Delicious black-eyed peas, flavored to perfection, served with ham and cornbread and all the good luck you could ever hope for; that, my friends, is a New Year’s Day meal to sink your teeth into. Now, we don’t guarantee good luck if you join us for this great New Year’s meal but we do guarantee that the food will be delicious.
We hope to see you New Year's Day, and to all of our loyal customers we want to wish you a Very Happy New Year!