Southern Foodways appears weekly as part of our collaboration with the Southern Foodways Alliance, an organization based in Oxford, Mississippi, that "documents and celebrates the diverse food cultures of the American South." Dig in!
Looking for good luck and good fortune in the new year? Secretly wishing for both while publicly resolving to do good unto others? Maybe you're just looking for a way to celebrate the new year that doesn't involve Champagne, Times Square, or staying up late?
Try a New Year's Day feast of black-eyed peas and collard greens. Both are thought to bring a year filled with prosperity. Some think the black-eyed peas represent copperpennies, specifically. So, for truly good fortune in the new year, be sure to eat 365 black-eyed peas (the only way to get a whole year's worth of good luck).
Many Southerners choose collards for their New Year's Day meal. Others round out the meal with cabbage. Either way, the piles of uncooked leafy greens, if looked at the right way and in the right light, look a bit like a pile of money.
It's hard to remember in the new South (suburban Atlanta and booming Charlotte, North Carolina, to name a few) that many Southerners live lives in which even a tiny bit of good fortune would be a welcome visitor. And, if prosperity has found you and yours, why not make sure it feels comfortable enough to stay for a while?
You won't need much moresome cornbread, perhaps, or a little pork if you're feeling fancy (or if your ham hock is generous enough).
Have a happy and prosperous 2008!