A Southern New Year’s Day Table

by Joe Goodell

1.hoppin john

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.

2.the southernc

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.

3.pecan pie

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


4 thoughts on “A Southern New Year’s Day Table by Joe Goodell

  1. Lisa W Davis

    What we have in the gentlemanly California transplant Joe Goodell is a bona fide convert to Southern Culture, especially the edible variety. Lucky us.

    1. Lucky us indeed!!

  2. Joe Goodell

    Tom : thanks for your attention and comment. Another of my favorites is red beans and rice (brown rice for me) with quality sausage, and sides of coleslaw and hot turnip greens (diced turnips stirred in). Way to start the day – large bowl of hot garlic cheese grits and a 15 oz cup of Cajun coffee. There are more, but you get the idea. Cheers! Joe G

  3. Joe, you’ve nailed the meal. I’d rather break a dozen mirrors while walking under a ladder and have a herd of black cats cross my path than risk missing my black eyed peas on New Years Day. Thanks,

Comments are closed.