A Southern New Year’s Day Table
by Joe Goodell
Prescribed by Southern tradition, and recommended for good luck throughout the year, the dinner of choice for New Year’s Day is built around an entrée of Hoppin’ John. Notions for origins of this name abound, although the French term for dried peas, “pois pigeons,” is most probable.
This delectable blend of black-eyed peas and long-grained brown rice is served in bowls, piping hot, flavored by pork and garnished with bacon. Alongside will be a plate of ribs, sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs and greens.
The “good luck” part is guaranteed by the greens, whose leaves look like money and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The greens are most likely collard or turnip—with the turnips diced in, or mustard—grown and enjoyed throughout the South. They are pot simmered for hours, with browning pork, onion, garlic, a whole pecan and other seasonings to taste, then served with hot pepper sauce and vinegar added to the plate.
To the side will be an ample slice of corn bread, unspeakably rich in flavor, crunchy in texture. (Oh, the poor little boy or girl who has never melted a lump of butter onto that hot slice of Mama’s cornpone). In many homes it is customary to leave three peas in the bowl for assurance that the New Year will be filled with luck, fortune and romance.
In soothing conclusion, a dessert of pecan pie and coffee, strong, hot and gratifying will round out the perfect Southern New Year’s Day table.
Happy New Year from Joe Goodell!!
Hoppin’ John photo is licensed under CC By 4.0 — linked to www.foodista.com
Pecan pie photo is licensed under CC By 4.0 — linked to www.Epicurus.com
A Southern New Year photo is licensed under CC By 4.0 — linked to www.thesouthernc.com