Lucky Black Eyed Peas

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Even non – superstitious people have a tendency to think about good fortune on New Year’s Day. All over the globe New Year’s Day is filled with symbols and traditions.

In Scotland, they welcome a tall dark and handsome man to enter the home after the clock strikes midnight. The Japanese believe that cleaning the house on New Year’s Eve will sweep in the New Year god to pay a visit. The Dutch are famous for the bonfires they set with their Christmas trees, expelling the old and inviting the new. The Chileans eat twelve grapes to symbolize each month of the year and to bring prosperity.

In the south of the United States, especially in Texas, the legend has it that black eyed peas are good luck to eat on New Years Day. The story that has been passed down for decades says that when General Sherman and his Union soldiers raided the Confederate soldiers’ food supply, they left behind the “livestock food,” the black-eyed peas, considering them unworthy of their own consumption. This left the Confederates with nourishment, and they considered themselves lucky to have the peas, as well as the fatback, which the Union soldiers also are said to have left behind.

If you want some of this good Southern luck try this recipe from The Loveless Café in Nashville, Tennessee.

Black Eyed Peas


1 pound fresh or dried black-eyed peas

1 quart water

1/2 pound ham hock

Dash of garlic salt

Black pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper to taste

Combine the black-eyed peas with the water in a saucepan. Add the ham hock, garlic salt, black pepper and red pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-high. Cook for 1 hour or until the peas are tender. Add water if needed.

This dish is served best with cornbread.

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