A Southern New Year's Day Tradition - Black Eyed Peas - Texas Caviar
Happy New Year! It's New Year's Day, which I can't say without humming a Texas Country favorite by Charlie Robison...if you know...you know. A Southern New Year's Day supper is FULL of TRADITIONS and ALWAYS includes ham or pork loin, spinach, black-eyed peas, cornbread, and rice. When Grandma, Marie Morgan, made this meal we would have rice for dessert. Yes, you read that correctly, she would make white rice with butter and sugar served in a coffee cup. This traditional meal also comes with stipulations. You're required to eat, or at least "try", EVERY dish because your LUCK, FORTUNE, HEALTH, and PROSPERITY in the New Year depend on it.
2020 was a doozy, to say the least, and we could ALL use a little extra LUCK. For good LUCK and HEALTH, I recommend a heaping bowl of Texas Black-eyed peas. Once used for livestock, the Black-eyed pea now graces the table of TEXANS everywhere as a symbol of LUCK and HEALTH on New Year's Day. What better way to celebrate NEW beginnings and our TEXAS heritage than with Black-eyed peas.
I believe in real ingredients, real moments, and real food, so everything I make at b. marie bakery is made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients straight from the FARM whenever possible. Regardless if you prefer traditional or something with an extra TWIST, these recipes might just give you a little EXTRA LUCK, FORTUNE, HEALTH, and PROSPERITY.
WHY DO WE EAT THEM?
Pictured Left: Grandma, Marie Morgan, and Grandad, Jack Morgan
Pictured Right: Papa, Ernest Woolsey, and Mema, Gwen Woolsey
"The old saying is we eat Black-eyed peas for good luck and health." - Mema (Gwen Woolsey)
We eat them for LUCK and HEALTH, but also because it's TRADITION. It's part of our heritage. But where did this Southern Tradition originate? According to the legend, the tradition dates back to the Civil War when the Union soldiers ignored the fields of black-eyed peas thinking it was only suitable for livestock. The black-eyed pea was the only crop left and became a staple for the Confederate soldiers while also saving southern families from starving. Thus the tradition was born of eating the humble black-eyed pea on the first day of the year for LUCK.
Thomas Jefferson praised the black-eyed pea as "very productive, excellent food for man and beast." - Historic Jamestowne, National Park Service
Regardless of where the tradition originated, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will live on and continue to be passed down for generations. If you need a little luck and love a NO FUSS, NO COOK, NO-BAKE recipe TEXAS CAVIAR will be your NEW go-to.
FROM FARM TO TABLE
Did you know Black-eyed Peas aren't PEAS!? They are actually a legume. Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas or Southern peas, are nitrogen-fixing plants which means they add nutrients back into the soil and improve soil quality.
Once harvested, black-eyed peas are cleaned, bagged, and dried, or cooked with water before canning or freezing. Black-eyed peas are primarily sold as dried beans directly to the consumer. However, they are utilized in various soups and bean mixes as well. Southern peas are shelled green and the peas are either cooked fresh or frozen.
FARMING DURING A PANDEMIC
Farming during any season is a challenge that isn't suitable for everyone, but farming amid a pandemic has its own unique obstacles. The supply issues seen on empty grocery store shelves forced consumers to get creative when sourcing essential products. The kink in the supply chain created an opportunity for consumers to reach out to local farmers and ranchers directly. I am hopeful that farmers and ranchers will continue to have a voice and an opportunity to tell their own unique stories.
Despite what you see on the news or social media, we live in a country with the safest and most affordable food supply in the world. Educate yourself regarding common farming practices and why they're used. The easiest thing you can do is talk to your local farmers and ranchers. When you buy local you're not only helping support your local economy but you're supporting your friends and community.
THANK A FARMER
During times of uncertainty take comfort knowing it's everyday people in RURAL AMERICA working around the clock who provide the most affordable and safest food supply. They are the unsung HEROES who we often take for granted. Now more than ever, be grateful and thank the hardworking farmers, ranchers, and everyone in-between for ALWAYS providing. They have ALWAYS been there...and they ALWAYS will. Once used for livestock, the black-eyed pea now graces the table of TEXANS everywhere as a symbol of LUCK and HEALTH on New Year's Day. As you enjoy your New Year's Day lunch or supper from the comfort of your home, take time to reflect on how that food made it to your plate. Or how it made its way from FARM to BAKED. #farmtotable #stillfarming #thankafarmer #recipe #texasblackeyedpeas #blackeyedpeas #texascaviar #southerntraditions #newyearsday #newyearsdaystraditions
Until next time, check out the recipes for TEXAS CAVIAR and my GRANDMA MARIE'S SWEET RICE below. Enjoy!
RECIPE COURTESY OF B. MARIE BAKERY
1 can black-eyed peas - drained
1 can sweet corn - drained
1 can black beans - drained
1 can Rotel
1 medium red onion - chopped
1 red bell pepper - chopped
1 orange bell pepper - chopped
1 green bell pepper - chopped
1/4-1/2 c pickled jalapenos
1/2 c fresh cilantro - chopped
1 c Italian Dressing
1/8 tsp cayenne or to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste
Add all ingredients and mix in a large bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for ~2 hrs.
Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!
Grandma Marie's Sweet Rice
RECIPE COURTESY OF B. MARIE BAKERY
Prepare white rice per instructions on the packaging.
Add 1/2 c to a coffee cup or small bowl with a pat of butter and sugar to your desired sweetness.
Variations: use brown sugar in place of granulated sugar or sprinkle with cinnamon.