Traveling Tuesday: A Southern New Year
I married into a southern family (roots that hearken from Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama), and part of my “orientation” included what meal to serve on New Year’s Day to bring the family good luck in the coming year. Without fail, my mother-in-law served black-eyed-peas, ham, collard greens, and cornbread. I’m not a big fan of the greens, so my husband and I now substitute spinach.
- Peas and beans symbolize coins or wealth. Black-eyed peas are the most commonly used bean, but lentils or other beans are acceptable. Be sure to season them with pork, ham, or sausage.
- Greens resemble money, especially folding money. Dishes are made using green leafy vegetables to ensure good fortune for the coming year. South favorites include collard, mustard, or turnip greens, cabbage or sauerkraut, kale, and chard.
- Pork is considered a sign of prosperity in some cultures because pigs root forward. (versus lobster that moves backward and is considered bad luck)
- Cornbread is supposed to symbolize gold because corn kernels represent coins. Combined with the peas and greens, it is said you’ll triple your luck by eating all three together.
Hoppin’ John: a low country dish consisting of spicy black-eyed peas, rice, and fatback or ham hock. It is thought to represent one big pot of money.
Hog Jowl: represents wealth, but also ensures good health (considering the fat content, would doctors agree with this claim?)
Southern Caviar: A great appetizer, this black-eyed pea salsa combines the peas with corn, onions, tomatoes, and green chilies. Serve with golden corn chips for extra luck.
What traditions (food or otherwise) do you practice for New Year’s eve or day?
Releasing January 15, 2020
Under Ground (Book 2 of the Ruth Brown mystery series):
It’s been six months since Ruth Brown followed clues to England and discovered the identity of her sister’s killer. War continues to rage as Ruth reports on food shortages, the black market, evacuation of London’s children, and the bravery of the British people.
When a bombing raid destroys her home and unearths a twenty-year-old skeleton in the cellar, her reporter’s senses tingle in anticipation of solving another mystery. Unfortunately, the by-the-book detective inspector assigned to the case is not interested in her theories. As Ruth investigates the case on her own, she butts heads with the handsome policeman.
Will she get to the bottom of the story before he arrests her for interference?