Black-Eyed Peas For Luck and Fortune

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Black-Eyed Peas For Luck and Fortune

By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

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!

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Reader Comments:


Ate at your restaurant in Savannah. Blackeyed Peas were the best I have ever eaten. Can't wait to make them when I get home. Loved your restaurant.

By Nancy on May 25, 2013


Tried this spicy black eyed peas recipie for my family. They loved it. I used low sodium chicken broth for some of the liquid and left out the salt. It was outstanding!

By Debbie Hall on January 03, 2012


Black-eye peas with sweet onions & chives, collard greens or mustard greens fried country ham & buttered rice, baked sweet potatoes & a pan of homemade hot biscuits with homemade strawberry preserves now I tell you that's a feast fit for a king! =o)

By Tammy on January 02, 2012


We eat black-eye peas(for change in your pocket), rice, collards (for folding money), some type of pork (don't know the history of that) and cornbread on New Year's Day. This is a tradition in our family.

By Anna on January 01, 2012


paula ,keep up the good work ,i always enjoy your shows and receipes ,looking forward to bobby's show too.

By PAT BROWN on January 01, 2012


Oh Paula I am so looking forward to cooking some of these good looking recipes you have here.

By Jessica Jennings on December 28, 2011


Thank u Paula for giving me hope that I can make it on my on. I write a cookbook (as an old mountain lady) & tell old stories, old jokes , etc.. I've only been able to . get it in 2 stores so far. But every little bit helps . When u r this old , a fixed income is truly that ! I admire you & the work u & your boys have done . Sweet family. Wonderful husband too ! Keep up the good work! Thank you. (Granny Grunt)

By Judy. Mapp on December 28, 2011


i used to live in georga, lawrenceville, that's where i started eating black-eye peas, on new years day!.

By Rosemary Lopez on December 27, 2011


Paula, I'm from Kentucky and my mom always had cooked cabbage for money, black eye peas for change and corn beef for health and luck on New Year's Day for 65 yrs of my life and I have had it every year that I have been married too and have been blessed all my life. Yours truly, Brenda

By Brenda on December 27, 2011


Amen! Nothing like ham, black-eyed peas and cornbread!!!!

By Caryl O on December 27, 2011


My daughter gave me your Southern Cooking Bible for Christmas. Love it.

By Anonymous on December 27, 2011


Can't wait to cook up the traditional New Years Dinner! But Paula, it was Vicksburg, Mississippi-the city was under siege for forty-seven days and during this time they realized black-eyed peas could be made "edible!"

By Krissy on December 27, 2011


The sweet potato biscuits are one of our new, favorite go-to biscuits for special family !! I have also substituted a like amount of cooked carrots-mashed very well- and they went down a treat!! We will definitely be doing Hoppin John New Years Day!! Love ya, Paula!!

By Teresa on December 27, 2011


I love your show and your recipes. Not only do you show people that some of the best food comes from the south but you also show how us southerners are. Keep up the good work and we love you restaurant and you. Lawanda Scott Brunswick,Ga.

By Lawanda Scott on December 27, 2011


love your receipe .. you have same cookin as my mother n my grandmother same way ....... i cook the just the way they cook always love it to cook everything .. i bought my daughter n law n daghter your bible coook book

By CHARITY on December 27, 2011


Paula, your blackeye peas recipe and sweet potato biscuits looked yummy, i will half to try these recipes you have lots of good recipes on here. I watch your show every chance i get keep up the good work Paula we love you and your show. Terri

By terri on January 06, 2011


my ex-husband was in the USAF, we lived many years in Mississippi and Florida, i fell in love with deep south cooking, to this day i make cornbread dressing, i have a wonderful recipe for pecan pie, calls for canned milk, the most raves i have gotten, one lady put it on facebook what a delicious pecan pie lila parton made {I have bake sales Thanksgiving and Christmas, have for years and years! I load up my car anad go downtown, sell in front of our only market in town, usually sell out in a hour, talk about some cold days, and am always thankful i sell out so soon! lila m. parton, makah nation, neah bay, wa

By lila m. parton on December 31, 2010


I love reading all your recipe books and look forward to getting them in the mail and always watching the news stand for new ones. My daughter and her family have been to eat at Ladies and Sons several times. We have a picture posted on the frig. of the Deen Family and the Hardin Family isn't that cool. See you in the Rose Parade have fun. The Hardins

By Doris Hardin on December 29, 2010


I love your show and love your recpies and love hearing about your family your grandson is just the so cuite and I love him too pieces.keep up the good work I am a collector of your cook books when I caan find them. Love deborah

By deborah degler on December 29, 2010


By Anonymous on December 28, 2010

Love it.  Anything Paula Deen cooks is top drawer with me.  Thanks Paula

By Carole on January 03, 2010

I made the spicy black eyed peas today for New Year’s dinner and my family loved them, they were the best I’ve ever made, Thanks to Paula for the idea. I need to also add that I omitted the chili powder, just because I don’t care for it, still tasted yummy.

By Shannan LeBlanc on January 01, 2010

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