Posts Tagged ‘Black-eyed peas’

Hoppin’ John: A southern recipe — Wikimedia photo

“Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive and irrational – but how much does it cost you to knock on wood?” — Judith Viorst

Black-Eyed Peas and Hoppin’ John

I had my black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. My brother, who lives in a first-floor apartment beneath my third-floor apartment gave me some. They were good, and I am grateful. He cooked them with ham and onion. No telling how much bad luck I would have had if I hadn’t eaten them.

I’m not sure everyone knows what I’m talking about, but my southern readers almost certainly do. You eat black-eyed pea on New Year’s Day so you will have luck during the coming year. Why, you ask? Until I did a little bit of research yesterday, I would have probably answered: “Just because.”

Pepper. on right, and her best friend Dusty, enjoying a lazy day. It’s cold outside today in Tucson. — Photo by Pat Bean

But, thanks to the good ole Internet, here’s what I discovered.

“The practice of eating black-eyed peas for luck is generally believed to date back to the Civil War. At first, planted as food for livestock, and later a food staple for slaves in the South, the fields of black-eyed peas were ignored as Sherman’s troops destroyed or stole other crops, thereby giving the humble, but nourishing, black-eyed pea an important role as a major food source for surviving Confederates.”  — TripSavy

Wikipedia, which repeats but doubts the Sherman story, also suggests that black-eyed peas were a symbol of emancipation for African-Americans who had previously been enslaved, and who after the Civil War were officially freed on New Year’s Day.

My favorite black-eyed pea dish, which I also cook during the year and not just on New Year’s Day is Hoppin’ John. My version includes dried black-eyed peas cooked with ham hock, onion, and salt to taste, with rice added at the end as well as a goodly dousing of Worchester Sauce.

Bean Pat: The Value of One Chicken https://windbreakhouse.wordpress.com/2019/01/03/a-chicken-in-every-house/

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Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. Check out her book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon, to learn more.

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