I have a friend who, bless her heart, is a Yankee. Over the past couple of years we have found that there are several differences between the North and South. We have laughed over the way she and I both said, "Pecan St" as if we were naming two different roads entirely. She was thrilled by the fact that parades here in the South entail beads and candy being thrown. I was recently baffled by the fact that they don't do black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Year's Day. When she asked me why we do that, I was able to tell her that, according to tradition, cabbage stands for wealth and black-eyed peas stand for luck, and if you don't eat these on New Year's Day, you won't have good luck or wealth in the ensuing year. That's about all I knew, so, being the nerd that I am, I took to Google to figure out the rest.
Apparently this tradition is attributed to Sherman's march through Georgia during the Civil War. He went through the state, carving a path to Atlanta, burning and pillaging as he went. One of the few things he left untouched were the rows of black-eye pea fields. These were harvested by the surviving Confederates, and they quickly became a major food source for the starving south. And, of course, the tradition has evolved and varies from home to home. Some believe that one must eat exactly 365 peas in order to have sufficient luck for the year. Others place a (hopefully clean) penny or dime in the pot, and the one who has the coin in their bowl is said to have the best luck that year. In our house, it was always stated that as long as you eat a little of each, you should have sufficient luck and wealth for the year, but the more you eat, the better your chances. Today, I'd like to share my version of Black-Eyed Peas and my step-daddy's cabbage.
Slow Cooker Black-Eyed Peas
1 lb Black-eyed peas (I use Camellia brand)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 TBS minced garlic
2 TBS garlic powder
2 TBS onion powder
Tony's to taste
Soak beans over night (about 8 hours), drain and rinse. Stir peas, onion, celery, garlic, and seasonings in crock pot. Fill with water until about 3/4 full. Cook on low 8-9 hours. Adjust seasonings as desired. Serve over cooked rice.
New Year's Cabbage
1 stick butter (not margarine)
1 medium onion, halved and sliced
1 head cabbage, sliced and core pieces removed
6 slices bacon (I use maple bacon)
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and saute until translucent. Meanwhile, fry bacon until it's cooked, but not crispy. (It will finish cooking in the pot.) Add cabbage and bacon to the pot, stir, cover and cook down until cabbage is tender, about an hour. Season as desired with Tony's, salt and pepper.
Happy New Year y'all!