So 2014 has been a blur and now we are into the last week of the year. Have a mile long list of things to accomplish today and hope that I haven’t been over ambitious as I normally tend to be when making my to do list. Unfortunately New Years will not be spent on the beach this year either but many dreams of the tide, and the fresh clean smell as well as the lifeguard tower, sun, sand, and fun times spent there will be on my mind throughout the evening. The countdown has begun to get through this week and accomplish as much as physically possible for a fresh start in 2015. The list of accomplishments also includes preparing for the traditional favorites to be served on New Years Day and this year in addition to the good luck black-eyed peas and greens, I hope to add another treat.
So as usual we will have black eyed peas cooked the southern way but I also like to make rice which is a southern classic called Hoppin’ John. Let me just give a bit of info regarding the history behind this dish….
“Hoppin’ John is found in most states of the South, but it is mainly associated with the Carolinas. Gullah or Low Country cuisine reflects the cooking of the Carolinas, especially the Sea islands (a cluster of islands stretching along the coats of south Carolina and northern Georgia). Hoppin’ John is a rich bean dish made of black-eyed peas simmered with spicy sausages, ham hocks, or fat pork, and rice.
There are many variations to traditional Hoppin’ John. Some cook the black-eyed peas and rice in one pot, while others insist on simmering them separately. Some also like to add the collard greens in the pot. One way to eat a Hoppin’ John meal is with collard greens and corn bread. Each item on the plate has symbolic meaning for the New Year. Black-eyed Peas represent “coins,” collard greens represent money or “green backs”, corn bread represents “gold,” and if tomatoes are added to Hoppin’ John it symbolizes “health”.
Southern Superstitions about Hoppin’ John:
This African-American dish is traditionally a high point of New Year’s Day, when a shiny dime is often buried among the black-eyed peas before serving.
Whoever gets the coin in his or her portion is assured good luck throughout the year. For maximum good luck in the new year, the first thing that should be eaten on New year’s Day is Hoppin’ John. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, many southern families toast each other with Champagne and a bowl of Hoppin’ John. If it is served with collard greens you might, or might not, get rich during the coming year. If you eat leftover Hoppin’ John the day after New Year’s Day, then the name changes to Skippin’ Jenny since one is demonstrating their determination of frugality. Eating a bowl of Skippin’ Jenny is believed to even better your chances for a prosperous New Year! – Source: Beyond Black-Eyed Pease: New Year’s good-luck foods, by Mick Bann, Dec. 26,2008, Austin Chonicle.
There is also another tradition in some parts of the South that you should count the number of peas in your serving to predict the amount of luck or wealth you will have for the coming year. If you leave three (3) peas on your plate when you are finished eating, then your New Year ahead will be filled with luck, good foturne, and romance.”
I hope to add a nice jello shooter to the mix on New Years Eve to get the party started in a festive spicy way. Hello Fireball Jello Shooters!!!!