Sunday, January 1, 2012

Southern Soul Food - A traditional New Year's Day meal of Black-eyed Peas, greens and cornbread

It's a new day of a new year and here in the Southern parts of the USA, we have a traditional New Year's Day dinner of Black-eyed Peas, greens, pork and cornbread for a little financial good luck for the new year!  We Southerners who grew up eating this typical New Year's Day cuisine don't dare break away from the tradition for fear of a hard, lean year of financial woes.  It's worked so far, we reason, so why mess with a good thing.  We tend to forget that we sometimes suffer some hard lean years anyway, but to our thinking they would have been worse if we had not fattened ourselves up on New Year's Day.
Here's what About.Com has to say about it: “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.” Pork is a staple of just about every Southern meal, so it’s usually cooked with the black-eyed peas. The pork seems to be there for flavor as opposed to symbolism, but some theorize that because pigs root forward when foraging, the pork represents positive motion."
Now that last statement must have come from a Northerner because I've never heard such a notion - pigs root forward when foraging, huh.... Everyone knows that pigs just like to eat and they'll root forward, sideways or backwards just to get a meal.  But I'm off the subject here.  We Southerners just like to eat our pork. That's all there is to it.
Today I cooked the standard fare and I added a little brown rice. The pork was country side meat or also known as "streak 'o lean".  It's basically bacon, but with more fat than lean. 
So if you want to see a typical Southern New Year's Day plate of food, here it is.  Yum-yum!
From bottom left clockwise:  Brown rice, cornbread, Kale greens sauteed in a little bacon grease, Dixie Black-eyed peas and pork side meat. 
Oh, and I forgot about the Banana Pudding for dessert.  It disappeared before I could make a picture.
This probably won't look appetizing to 99% of my readers, but to us Southerner's it's soul food - fit for a king.
Tomorrow, I'll take the leftovers and make Hoppin' John.  I'll sautee a little onion and garlic, add it to the peas along with the rice and bits of bacon.  Throw in a can of crushed tomatoes and there you have it - a metamorphosis! 
For another delicious Southern recipe, see Susan's Key Lime Pie recipe on Between Naps on the Porch Metamorphosis Monday.


  1. Oh that looks so good and the Banana Pudding? Mmmmmm........ Happy New Year! We don't have any New Year Traditions but love learning about others and what they do. My Scottish friend has a whole lot of them.

  2. I can hear my sister tsk-ing me now but, we've skipped the peas for the past couple years. Wasn't devastating but, I reckon it would've been better if we hadn't? HA..
    Not much on greens. Like a raw spinach dip for veggies, though.
    I'll eat myself into a coma on some 'nanner puddin'.

  3. Denise, I would love to hear the Scottish traditions!

    Mike, love it when I get a reply from a true Southerner. We make our 'nanner puddin' the old fashioned way where you cook your pudding from scratch - not the Jello pudding way. That's why it disappears so quickly.

  4. Hi Glenda. That meal certainly looks delicious. Yum Yum! I'm sure I would have loved the banana pudding as well! Good to see these traditions from America.


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