Why does Paula eat one black-eyed pea for each day of the New Year? We Southerners know that eating black-eyed peas ensures good luck and prosperity throughout the upcoming year. Their shapes loosely resemble coins; but more importantly, they swell as they cook, much as you want your wealth to expand. A coin in the pot promises extra fortune to the one who finds it in his scoop of peas. And a penny is often put under each bowl of peas to boost the luck potential.
Legend tells us also that black-eyed peas became a lucky dish during the Civil War. Union soldiers near the town of Vicksburg, Va. burned all crops except the peas; thinking they were animal feed, the soldiers did not bother them. Residents discovered that the legume was the only thing left to eat; they adapted it into their diet, and black-eyed peas were therefore considered the food of good fortune.
Today, people wouldn’t dream of starting off their year without a good luck pot of black-eyed peas. We like Spicy Black-Eyed Peas with bacon, tomatoes and green chilies, and chili powder for extra kick. Or you can eat them in the South Georgia Caviar Dip or Black-Eyed Pea Salad, but just make sure you get some!
The full Southern treatment for black-eyed peas is Hoppin’ John, a soul food dish cooked with smoked pork and spices and served over rice. Smoked pork means more luck, so a ham hock or hog jowl always flavors the pot.
Best wishes for luck, prosperity, and abundance!Read More From Holidays and Entertaining.
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Join Paula and family for a Party at Sea aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas to Labadee, Jamaica, and Cozumel (roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale) presented by Alice Travel. We will be having special, separate events for kids on this one with Jack Deen hosting the kids program! Click here for more information, and please note that the Paula Deen cruise is only available by booking directly with Alice Travel Book now before the prices start going up on the cruise and air!