Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Many cultures celebrate the turn of the year with special foods. Food is sometimes the way we pray.

In Japan, you eat unbroken long noodles and mochi to ensure a long and sweet life. Greeks eat cakes with coins cooked into them. Italians swear by fat pork sausage and lentils, celebrating the richness of the new year while hoping for the pennies at the same time. In Spain, you savor 12 grapes. And of course, the French find my favorite use of grapes: champagne.

If you grew up--black or white--in the American South, you probably eat a meal very similar to the one on our stove right now. Some people say that the collards in a traditional New Year's meal stand for dollars and the black-eyed peas stand for the coins. Others say you get good luck from eating beggar's food on the first day of the year.



While we were visiting my parents, brother, and extended family in coastal South Carolina, we picked up cow peas (a New Year's tradition even older than black-eyed peas) and rice from Carolina Plantation. Growing along the Pee Dee River are crops that have been grown on this land for almost three hundred years. We're thrilled to discover a local source--or at least local when we travel to my parents--for dried beans, rice, and grits. Time to stock up!


7 comments:

Greta_Jane said...

As much as I dislike living in the American South (I am home in New England right now, it is snowing and I am have been in tears at having to leave my winter behind on Friday), I do appreciate how much easier the local food has been this year, living in the South. I say this mostly because I had totally forgotten that there are coastal and reasonably local sources for rice. I would never have occurred to me!

Mouse said...

*shudders* I had to eat black eyed peas today.. its one of the only Southern foods that I've tried that I absolutely cannot stand. I do however really like collard greens- especially if they are cooked with fresh garlic. In PA we do pork & saurkraut for luck!

Jennifer Jeffrey said...

I do like the idea that food is sometimes the way we pray...

Happy New Year to you! I hope your year is full of wonderful things, starting today. xox

Knitting Therapy said...

We had our 'hoppin' John' yesterday. May your's bring you good health and happiness.

Laurie said...

I wonder where you went, since I grew up on the NC/SC line about an hour from the beach. We didn't eat black-eyed peas except on New Year's Day. Field peas are so much better, especially with the snaps.

Whatever you do, don't ever eat at South of the Border!

The Purloined Letter said...

Laurie! We were on our way to Myrtle Beach where both my parents grew up and live now. I was raised in Laurinburg (way too close to South of the Border, which my father called "Tacky Town") and still miss it every day. Where are you from?!

Laurie said...

I lived in a tiny country town off 904 named Marietta. I went to school in Fairmont and I went to church in Lake View, SC, in Dillon County. I worked one summer at SOB and I went to Governor's School at St. Andrews. Now I live in Greensboro. And I don't miss living in Robeson County at all! :D

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