What’s your family’s favorite New Year’s food tradition? Around the world many people celebrate the new year with many food traditions. On New Year’s eve you will smell a prime rib roast cooking in my oven. At midnight my family will share a piece of a New Year’s Pretzel. New Year’s Pretzels are said to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year and are to be eaten at midnight or before breakfast on New Year’s Day. There are a few different stories about the origins of the New Year’s Pretzel. Some say that the New Year’s Pretzels were fashioned after the way in which German monks prayed. By crossing arms across the chest in the traditional prayer style, the German monks would pray for peace, health and prosperity for everyone in the surrounding village.
On New Year’s day a pork roast covered with my homemade sauerkraut will be slow roasting in my dutch oven pot. I will serve the pork roast with creamy mashed potatoes. This is a tradition both my husband and I have celebrated since we were children. We were always told this would bring us good luck for the coming year.
This year I wanted to try a recipe the southern branch of my family prepares every year, black-eyed peas. I had a ham hock left over from Christmas and this will be perfect to flavor the dish. According to Southern folklore, the first food to be eaten on New Year’s Day for luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead are black-eyed peas. The practice of eating black-eyed peas for luck is generally believed to date back to the Civil War. Here are some ways people serve them:
- Served with greens (collards, mustard or turnip greens, which varies regionally), the peas represent coins and the greens represent paper money. In some areas cabbage is used in place of the greens.
- Cornbread, often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold.
- For the best chance of luck every day in the year ahead, one must eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.
- Black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent wealth and health.
- In some areas, actual values are assigned with the black-eyed peas representing pennies or up to a dollar each and the greens representing anywhere from one to a thousand dollars.
- Adding a shiny penny or dime to the pot just before serving is another tradition practiced by some. When served, the person whose bowl contains the penny or dime receives the best luck for the New Year, unless of course, the recipient swallows the coin, which would be a rather unlucky way to start off the year.
How ever you serve them they are tasty and will be on my table this year.
Sort the beans and remove any stones or bad beans. Rinse with cold water and set aside. In a stock pot, bring ham bone or ham hock and 1 quart of stock to a boil; simmer for 1 hour before starting to cook beans. Add the black-eyed peas into pan with ham hock and add the other quart of stock and enough water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Add onion, garlic, pepper and creole seasoning. Bring back to a boil and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender. Add salt. (If you are using ham hock, omit the salt. The ham hock will give the peas a more complex flavor and enough salt.) Allow beans to rest for @ 30 minutes before serving.