Southern scents and smells

Ringing in the new year with Southern style food.

My housemates and I were talking, only down South can you have vegetables all over the table & none of them vegetarian friendly! So to make sure I’ll have such wealth and good fortune (ha, if it was only true!) I made sure to eat my peas, greens, & cornbread full of ham! There’s a little bit of an interest in why certain foods are good luck; here’s why we all eat these 4 staples every year:

Black Eye Peas: In the Southern United States, it’s traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin’ john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky.

Greens: It’s no coincidence that this good-luck food is the color of money. Greens, such as kale, collards, and cabbage, are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day because of their association with wealth and economic prosperity.

Ham: Due to pigs’ dining habits, many countries, including Austria, Cuba, and Spain, view pork as a good-luck food. As pigs root for food, they keep their feet planted and push their snouts forward, signifying progress and future properity.

Cornbread: Cuz’ it ain’t Southern unless you add a nice side of cornbread to the mix!

This year’s challenge was making Hoppin’ John, a Southern twist on inhaling legumes on the day of the new year. I found a recipe version in my country cookbook Dirt Soup to Chocolate Gravy the Celina area heritage cookbook that sounded down right Southern!

1 lb pork sausage browned. Saute 1 c chopped onions & 1 c chopped celery in the pork dregs.

Add 2 c cooked rice ( I used brown rice since I didn’t drain the peas) 2 cans blackeyed peas & 1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes.

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot or crockpot, add salt, pepper, and any herbs. I chose thyme since it pars well with pork. I also didn’t add much salt since just that day I ran across salt pork at the Krogerr & definitely wanted to add that delicious flavor to my Hoppin’ John! If you’re cooking in a large stove pot, simmer 30 minutes. If you’re in a crockpot and eating sooner than later, I put it on high or 4 hours. I liked it with less liquid which the brown rice helped out on. The recipe does suggest that if you need more liquid add water, but if you don’t drain the vegetables, I found that to be enough liquid.

This is all in my crockpot cooked on low

I also made my cornbread with bacon drippings, but that’s just because I don’t have a qualm about serving non-vegetarian vegetables! Greens do well with a little drippings mixed in, but you don’t have too, especially if you have vegetarians eating your vegetables!

Best wishes & Luck this next year, I hope these Lucky foods bring prosperity & wealth to all!

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