There are a number of traditions that where passed on to me by my family; big family gatherings for the holidays and special occasions, cookie decorating before Christmas, special letters from Santa on Christmas morning, . . . you get the idea. Thinking back, I don’t remember any strong traditions for New Years Day. My husband on the other hand grew-up with a tradition that he was excited to share with me.
On our first New Years Day together as a married couple, Joe prepared his family’s traditional New Years Day meal of Black Eyed Peas and Cornbread. I was excited to try something new. Joe delivered a generous serving of black eyed peas along with a nice big hunk of corn bread. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical but Joe was enthusiastic. So I dove in and tried my first bit. Then I tried a second bit thinking that the second bit is always better, but it was not. I tried a few more (trying to be the polite wife) but I just could not do it. The black eyed peas tasted like mush and I could not do it. I politely broke the news to my husband that I was not a fan of the black eyed peas but the cornbread was fabulous. Let me say that my husband was very gracious about it and offered to get me something else to eat.
Fast forward a year later . . . Joe was in the grocery store and saw they had a special for fresh black eyed peas (buy one, get one free – got to love deals) and picked up a couple of containers. So on New Years Day he makes the black eyed peas and cornbread again. As a foodie and someone who is will to give it a second chance, I said to make me a plate. We sat down for lunch and began our meal. I took my first bit and it was not like I had remembered, it was a million times better. I went in for another bit and I still liked it. Before I knew it I had finished my plate.
What had just happened? How had I gone from disliking the mush to cleaning my plate? After some thought Joe realized that the first year he had made it with canned black eyed peas and this particular year he made it from fresh black eyed peas. The important lesson we learned was that fresh black eyed peas are the only way to go!
From that year forward we have made the New Years Day Black Eyed Peas with fresh peas. Oh and don’t forget the bacon or salt pork, that makes it extra yummy!
Happy New Years!
- 2 strips of thick cut bacon, diced (or diced salt pork)
- 12oz Fresh Black Eyed Peas
- 1⅕ - 2 cups water
- 15 drops of Tabasco (or to taste)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In medium sauce pan over medium heat add the bacon to render the fat.
- Once bacon is browned add the black eyed peas. Stir gently to coat with bacon fat.
- Increase temperature to medium-high and add water to just below the top of the peas. Water should not cover the peas.
- Add the Tabasco, adjust amount to your preference.
- Bring to a boil, add salt and pepper, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Taste peas for seasoning and texture, they should be creamy and not mushy while still holding shape.