Each year on New Year's Day, no matter how hung over I am, I host a brunch. Continuing a long family tradition, I serve black-eyed
By Renee Davidson
Each year on New Year's Day, no matter how hung over I am, I host a brunch. Continuing a long family tradition, I serve black-eyed peas, collard greens and pork chops. In my family, these foods are considered lucky when you eat them to start off the year. The greens represent dollar bills, and the black-eyed peas symbolize coins. The pork is supposed to be for health, but I've always found that claim rather dubious.
There are other stories explaining why Southerners eat black-eyed peas, greens and pork on New Year's Day. One scenario blames it on the "War Between the States," during which Union soldiers regularly burned crops and raided Southern kitchens. Black-eyed peas were considered livestock feed, so the soldiers ignored fields of them. When they were finished taking or destroying everything they considered edible, Southerners made do with the rejects, which meant black-eyed peas, greens and hog jowls. So, for some Southern families, these foods are served in remembrance of their Confederate ancestors.