Monday, January 01, 2007


Peas on earth

Blackeye peas, parboiled, are soaking. Ham bone is boiling. The hammy water will be the base for cooking the peas, which'll have some garlic and a dash of red pepper, as well.

Yum. Cornbread. Leftover goose. More ham. Dr. ER's potato salad.

Why blackeye peas on New Year's Day? This is from the Web site of Allen Canning Co. in Siloam Springs, Ark., whose veggies I grw up eating and, I think, some of my uncles grew greens for ...

It was my pleasure to tell YankeeBeau this tale over chicken wings last night.

Q: Where did the legend of eating Blackeyed Peas on New Year’s Day for good luck originate?

A: There is a tradition, which says if you eat Blackeyed Peas on New Year’s Day, you will have good luck throughout the New Year.

The Blackeyed Pea or cow pea has been around since the dawn of time. The Blackeyed Pea remains have been found in the excavations of the Swiss Lake dwellers of the Bronze Age (2500-1000BC). African slaves brought the Blackeyed Pea to America in 1674. They quickly became a vital source of nourishment for slaves and they could be grown in virtually any type of soil. During the Civil War, Yankee soldiers destroyed cash crops such as cotton and staples such as tomatoes and potatoes, but overlooked the fields of Blackeyed Peas.

Southerners, gentry, commoners and former slaves alike, turned to the Blackeyed Pea as a staple. The legend that eating Blackeyed Peas on New Year’s Day brought good luck emerged from this period of American history. Many old families of Charleston, South Carolina, began preparing a dish called "Hoppin’ John" out of Blackeyed Peas, bacon, and rice to feed families in the war-ravage South. As the area began to redevelop, many partakers of Hoppin’ John probably had a better year than the year before, hence, the legend that eating Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day brought good luck.

People throughout the South, and those Southerners who have migrated to other parts of the country, would not think of starting a New Year without keeping this tradition. We hope you enjoy Allens Blackeyed Peas on New Year’s Day.

Happy New Year, y'all!


When I was dating that South Carolina girl, she told me that the blackeyes are for good luck in general, and the greens are for money luck specifically.

Lotta good that one did me. That was the year I got fired from my job on New Years day. Anyway, the girl I'm following around these days holds that this day is for steak, which I'm always okay with. Chicagoans: go figure.

happy 2007, mister.
One of the few things I miss about living down south is black-eyed peas. You can find them, canned, at the grocery store, but not dried and bagged, ready to be boiled with ham (forget about greens; people up here don't even know what they are). I had never heard about them being for luck, but why not? Toss some salt over your left shoulder while downing a big plate of black-eyed peas, and God Bless us all in 2007.
Thanks, rich. You too, Geoffrey!
BTW, I can't even imagine not knowing what greens are.
Well, I don't know where Geoffrey lives, but we do have them in Portland.

But on the other hand, this is the place, again, that people tend to move to, so it's not too surprising. We have some of every kind of food in this city.

Now: off to eat steak!
Happy New Year, ER. May it bring you many blessings!
Mid 1960's, we are wandering down towards Somalia in the Ethiopian provence of Eritrea (now independent). We are outside a town named Charen (a.k.a. Charon, Keren, Karen). I'm watching a tractor plowing a field. The first and only "tractor" I ever saw in Ethiopia. The sign says "Oklahoma State University Extension Division". They were cultivating a field of blackeyed peas. A crop grown in Ethiopia for more than 6000 years.
Bon apete!
Ah, but ancient knowledge of cultivars is one thing, current knowledge of farming practices is another.

About the only good news I've heard concerning Iraq latrely was this: Texas A&M is leading a group of land-grant schools taking the pragmatism, and spirit, of agricultural extension over there.

Of course, it's sort of like starting the Marshal Plan before winning WWII -- but hey, it's a little good news.
Beware the "Green Revolution"!
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