I was in my mid-30’s before learning that I had not been eating a proper New Year’s Day meal for over three decades. Of course, if I wasn’t interested in a year filled with good luck and money, then what I ate was irrelevant.
But if I wanted good luck and money throughout the new year, my wife informed me after we began living together in the mid-80s, then I must eat appropriately. And “appropriately” meant eating a traditional Southern New Year’s Day dinner.
And that is…
For good luck, it’s black eyed peas. I don’t like “green” peas. but black-eyed peas meet my approval, especially with some pepper sauce.
Now to me, good luck includes money but why leave something so important as that to luck? Since in the US, money is still “green” then ingesting something green will of course improve of your chances for the really important kind of green.
And in the South, the traditional “green” to eat on New Year’s is collard greens. Although I like them, especially with that all-important pepper sauce, there is a problem: they stink up the house while cooking. Oh well, it’s just once a year…
Now, which pepper sauce to use on your greens is akin to the argument over how many angels can dance on a pin head. But you can’t go wrong with Louisiana Tabasco peppers…
You gotta have some meat in the meal, and the traditional choice is ham. Either in the collards and/or the peas. But this year, tradition was throw to the wind in favor of something…higher on the hog: double cut pork chops in a New Orleans-style brown sauce.
Since I’m not aware of any prescribed dessert, I contributed a classic Filipino rice cake dessert that I baked: bibingka. Unfortunately, it was a spur of the moment decision and I had no grated coconut to put on top for some additional sweetness.
So if you don’t live in the South, now you know what to eat for next New Year’s Day.
Happy New Year!