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New Years Day Food: Deep South Version

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Some of you may or may not know that in the South, there are three items one should eat every New Years Day.  Greens (Cabbage, Collard, Mustard, or Turnip greens will do),  Black-Eyed Peas, and ham (pork in any form will do).    I think many cultures have similar traditions, but I'm only privy to the inner workings of what I grew up with.

First, lets get the obvious out of the way.   Greens symbolize wealth.  The reason is obvious and several cultures actually share this belief.  One should always eat their greens on New Years Day if you want to be prosperous in the New Year.  Here's how it's served in my neck of the woods.  (cabbage pictured, flavored with plenty of bacon)


Next, we have the pork.  Above you have bacon flavoring your greens, so that might do for some folks.  For us, however, we grew up needing a main dish on New Years Day anyway, so there's usually a ham.   Why pork?  Pigs root forward when scrounging for food.   Eating pig symbolizes moving forward or progressing in the New Year, so the pork is for luck.   NEVER, and I mean NEVER eat chicken on New Years Day as chickens scratch backwards when scrounging up food.  Looking back=bad luck.  We don't want that now do we?   Trust me, if a Southerner can give up fried chicken any day, it is important.

Lastly, there's the black-eyed peas which there seems to be some confusion about on the internet.  Some folks seem to think the reason we have black-eyed peas is because they look like coins. What?  Never heard that, nor have I seen a coin that looks like a black-eyed pea.   Here's the scoop:
Black-eyed peas were brought from Africa by the slaves.  Like much of their food, it quickly became a staple in Southern cuisine.   During the Civil War, the Union Troops would confiscate and eat all of the crops from Southern farms.   Not knowin' no better (silly Yankees) they considered Black Eyed Peas livestock feed, so they left them alone.   As a result, many times that's all they had to eat.   So black-eyed peas are eaten for health in the New Year.  Some folks say you should eat one black-eyed pea for each day of the new year.   Sounds like a LOT of peas to me, so just a helping or two will do. 
maxresdefault.jpg(You'll notice again more bacon)

Some folks include cornbread on the list of must-haves for New Years day claiming it represents gold, but I've never heard that and as you can see we've already got wealth covered.   The reason this is eaten on New Years day is simple, it goes perfect with this meal.   

So there you have it folks.  Maybe you learned something about our traditions in the South, maybe you knew all this already.

What about you?  What are your traditions for New Years day if you have any?

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I'm originally from the south so I know all about the break from chicken when you can get it.  I do miss the Waffle Houses I use to visit now and then.   


As a tradition, my wife and I have always grabbed a couple of the sub sandwiches from Wal-Mart along with some Lil' Smokies and some chips.  I never would have done this but a friend of mine in Arkansas made miniature skewers using toothpicks loaded with smokies that had been slow cooked in bar-b-que sauce, coupled with chunks of pineapple from a can.  Surprisingly...it's really good!  I spent time with them before I moved.


This year we got the usual stuff but we upped the ante.  We are going to make our own nachos with store-bought ingredients and I am adding seasoned ground beef to top them off.  


That ham looks really good!  So does the greens.  



I don't have any New Years food traditions, but I want to eat all of that. Whenever we go down south we like to go to the independent restaurants and cafeterias that make food like this, the food is sooooooooooo good. 


If you ever travel to Branson, Missouri and pass through, or can find the time to travel south a bit farther, check out some of the restaurants in Harrison, Arkansas.  You will need this...




T's BBQ is really good and I don't know if it is still there or not but there use to be a place called Big Daddy's across from the Edward's grocery store.  Really BIG hamburgers!  I had to cut mine in half just to try to bite it.

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Looking at what we do..


full English Breakfast..


Cornish Pasty


And Cream Tea where Devon and Cornwall argue over whether you put jam or cream on 1st...


Dull old England :'(





I mean really?.

There's several I see on the list. Beef Wellington is really awesome, I'm a fan of many meat pies, my father even LOVES mince pies.   Also, Fish and Chips is something I can't pass up if they're nice and crispy!

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