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A Southern Meal for New Year’s Day

New Year's Day MealI am a Southern boy.  Of that there is no doubt.  I’ve lived “south  of the line” almost my entire life.  I’m not your stereotypical Southern boy by any means, but there are some Southern traditions I hold on to.  One is the traditional Southern New Year’s Day meal of black-eyed peas, greens, cornbread and ham.

This tradition is fairly new, as traditions go, only dating back to the end of the Civil War.  The story goes something along these lines.  As Sherman marched through the South burning everything in his path, he tended to leave the fields of greens and field peas alone.  Those foods were considered animal fodder anyway, so why bother?  Of course, with nothing else to eat after the union troops either burned or requisitioned everything else considered useful, Southern families were left not much choice in the matter.  From the ashes of Sherman’s march, a traditional Southern meal was born.

Many cultures have traditional New Year’s Day meals, hoping to bring good luck and prosperity to those who eat them in the coming year.  For our meal the black-eyed peas symbolize coins.  The greens symbolize paper money.  The cornbread symbolizes gold.  And the ham, not always part of the meal, adds a bit of wealth to the plate.  Tradition has it, that those who hold with this meal on New Year’s Day will experience good luck, wealth and prosperity in the coming year.  And, of course, if done right, it tastes mighty good as well.

So, eat up everyone.  And the best of luck to each of you this year.

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2 comments on “A Southern Meal for New Year’s Day

  1. arjun bagga
    January 2, 2013

    You are right. Reading you is truly a relief!

  2. Emma
    January 2, 2013

    Thank you, and good luck to you as well. I was intrigued by your gravatar… a mixed-up mess of a man. You sound pretty sane to me. We ate greens as I knew about the greens equal money and I could sure use an influx of that!

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This entry was posted on January 2, 2013 by in A Southern Perspective, Cooking, Family, Food, Life and tagged , , , , , .
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