Black-eyed peas

Call it tradition or superstition, given the course of the first two years of this decade, partaking of some food thought to bring good fortune on the first day of the new year can’t be a bad idea, right?

In America, the best-known New Year’s Day good luck dish is probably black-eyed peas and greens. According to historians, this traditionally southern meal originated either from African slaves or Sephardic Jewish immigrants to Georgia in the 1700s. 

An old Southern saying goes, “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.” The “peas” are actually beans, greens can be braised collard, turnip or mustard greens, and cornbread is self-explanatory. 

Toss in some pork, in the form of a roast or bacon for extra good luck, as pigs are considered a symbol of progress in some cultures. 

In the Midwest, pork in the form of kielbasa or roast, with sauerkraut or cabbage rolls, are familiar on New Year’s Day tables. For those of Scandinavian origin, pickled herring at the New Year was both a celebration and a prayer for a good catch. And in Italy, lentils and sliced sausage — resembling coins, for the creative mind — are a New Year’s staple. 

However you choose to ring in 2022, consider doing so with a prayer or an intention for the year ahead. A little positive thinking can go a long way!


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