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Thread: Eating black eyed peas on new year's day - the history

  1. #1
    Super Member Ditter43's Avatar
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    Eating black eyed peas on new year's day - the history

    . EATING BLACK EYED PEAS ON NEW YEAR'S DAY - THE HISTORY
    If you grew up in the south or southwestern parts of this country, then you can relate. I grew up with this belief, but did not know the real reason. My mother always served black eyed peas on New Year's Day, and she said it would bring good luck in the new year. I've carried this tradition forward, but never knew the reason behind it. It became a way of remembrance of my mother and grandmother.

    Black Eyed Peas "The Real Story," is much more interesting and has gone untold in fear that feelings would be hurt. Itís a story of war, the most brutal and bloody war in US history. Military might and power pushed upon civilians, women, children and elderly. Never seen as a war crime, this was the policy of the greatest nation on earth trying to maintain that status at all costs.

    An unhealed wound remains in the hearts of some people of the southern states even today; on the other hand, the policy of slavery has been an open wound that has also been slow to heal but is okay to talk about. The story of *THE BLACK EYED PEA* being considered good luck relates directly back to Sherman's Bloody March to the Sea in late 1864. It was called The Savannah Campaign and was lead by Major General William T. Sherman.

    The Civil War campaign began on Nov. 15, 1864, when Sherman's' troops marched from the captured city of Atlanta ,Georgia, and ended at the port of Savannah on 12/22/1864. When the smoke cleared, the southerners who had survived the onslaught came out of hiding. They found that the blue-belly aggressors had looted and stolen everything of value, and everything you could eat, including all livestock.

    Death and destruction were everywhere. While in hiding, few had enough to eat, and starvation was now upon the survivors.There was no international aid, no Red Cross meal trucks. The Northern army had taken everything they could carry and eaten everything they could eat. But they couldnít take it all. The devastated people of the south found for some unknown reason that Sherman's bloodthirsty troops had left silos full of blackeyed peas. At the time in the north, the lowly black eyed pea was only used to feed stock. The northern troops saw it as the thing of least value. Taking grain for their horses and livestock and other crops to feed themselves, they just couldnít take everything. So they left the black eyed peas in great quantities, assuming it would be of no use to the survivors, since all the livestock it could feed had either been taken or eaten. Southerners awoke to face a new year in this devastation and were facing massive starvation if not for the good luck of having the black eyed peas to eat. From New Years Day 1866 forward, the tradition grew to eat black eyed peas on New Yearís Day for good luck.


    I will have my Black Eyed Peas this New Year's Day!!
    I quilt, therefore I am.

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    Super Member luvstoquilt's Avatar
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    Me, too! What a great story..I love Black-eyed peas and always have them on New Year's Day. Happy New Year!!! My mother-in-law used to put 12 dried black-eyed peas in her change purse and she threw away one the first of each month. She said that was also for good luck. I never knew anyone else that did that so don't know if it is practiced anywhere. I grew up in Texas and we all ate those peas!
    "You must do the thing you think you cannot do"....E. Roosevelt

    Sharon
    Yorkville, IL

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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    Ha, ha. I'm from the South and never heard that. This year i didn't get any black eyed peas though.

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    Junior Member TShooters's Avatar
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    My folks always had black-eyed peas, along with cooked greens (collard, turnip, or spinach) that represented wealth in the new year.

    Thanks for the story behind the tradition.
    Count your life by smiles, not tears. Count your age by friends, not years.

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    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I had never heard the story but as a lover of the black eyed pea we always ate them and always on New Years day. When DH was stationed in places we could not get them my DM would send me bags of dried ones.

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    Super Member tutt's Avatar
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    I never knew the reason that we always ate them on New Year's. Sad how the reasons from traditions sometimes get lost. Thanks for sharing.

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    This is what wikipedia has to say about black eyed peas being good luck food.

    Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is thought to bring prosperity in the Southern United States.

    The "good luck" traditions of eating black-eyed peas at Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, are recorded in the Babylonian Talmud(compiled ~500 CE), Horayot 12A: "Abaye [d. 339 CE] said, now that you have established that good-luck symbols avail, you should make it a habit to see qara (bottle gourd), rubiya (black-eyed peas, Arabic lubiya), kartei (leeks), silka (either beets or spinach), andtamrei (dates) on your table on the New Year." However, the custom may have resulted from an early mistranslation of the Aramaic wordrubiya (fenugreek).
    A parallel text in Kritot 5B states one should eat these symbols of good luck. The accepted custom (Shulhan Aruh Orah Hayim 583:1, 16th century, the standard code of Jewish law and practice) is to eat the symbols. This custom is followed by Sephardi and Israeli Jews to this day.
    In the United States, the first Sephardi Jews arrived in Georgia in the 1730s, and have lived there continuously since. The Jewish practice was apparently adopted by non-Jews around the time of the American Civil War.[citation needed]
    Another suggested beginning of the tradition dates back to the Civil War, when Union troops, especially in areas targeted by GeneralWilliam Tecumseh Sherman, typically stripped the countryside of all stored food, crops, and livestock, and destroyed whatever they could not carry away. At that time, Northerners considered "field peas" and field corn suitable only for animal fodder, and did not steal or destroy these humble foods.[4]
    In the Southern United States,[5] the peas are typically cooked with a pork product for flavoring (such as bacon, ham bones, fatback, or hog jowl), diced onion, and served with a hotchili sauce or a pepper-flavored vinegar.
    The traditional meal also includes collard, turnip, or mustard greens, and ham. The peas, since they swell when cooked, symbolize prosperity; the greens symbolize money; the pork, because pigs root forward when foraging, represents positive motion.[6] Cornbread also often accompanies this meal.

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    Super Member Quiltaddict's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing that amazing story. I never knew the history of eating blackeyed peas on New Year's Day. But, growing up in Texas we ate them all the time, but always on Jan. 1st. I had better go check my kitchen to see if I have any. If not, I'm heading to the store.

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    Super Member Juliebelle's Avatar
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    We made a black eye soup and had that with corn bread for lunch.
    Juliebelle

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    Super Member pamesue's Avatar
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    wow.....thanks for the history lesson....my mom was from Tennessee and we always had black eye peas for dinner.... she said it was for luck but i never knew the reason.......
    Pam H.

    "Those that mind, don't matter and those that matter don't mind" ~ Dr. Seuss

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    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    Virginian born and bred here, and I hate black eyed peas, LOL! My New Year's day lunch was a hamburger steak, lots of broccoli, wild rice, and 2 little clementines.

    Jan in VA
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    Super Member TexasSunshine's Avatar
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    We always had black eyed peas on New Years Days for luck. Even when we were stationed away from Texas we always had them. Today I made "Hoppin John Soup". I sauted an onion, bell pepper and some celery together, added some link sausage, (like Hillshire Farms) sliced, 3 cans peas, drained, 1 can ro-tel tomatoes and 3 can chicken broth. It was a little spicy and I served it over rice, with cornbread. Very good.
    Texas Sunshine, piney woods of NE Texas

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    Junior Member SSTeacher's Avatar
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    Being from the "North," (and a butcher's daughter), I never even HEARD of black-eyed peas, that is until I married my wonderful southern husband whose mother cooked black-eyed peas and hog jowl every New Years. Our tradition in the North was Pork and Sauerkraut. Would someone know the background surrounding this meal? My brother and I still carry the tradition forward and we just had ours on Tuesday, using a pork tenderloin which was simply outstanding. It is such an easy meal since I cook the sauerkraut right in with the pork roast, along with cut up apples. Then, just make the mashed potatoes and you have a wonderful meal. HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone. Sue

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    Super Member kuntryquilter's Avatar
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    I don't like black-eyed peas, but always have them on New Years day along with my greens. Peas are for luck, is this true? I don't know because I always have them that one day. The greens are for money/wealth. This also I don't know, I do know that I have all I need & I do know I get everything I need from my Lord. Do I get everything I want? No, but that is okay.

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    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    I'm a northern girl married to a southern guy who always had black eyed peas on New Year's Day. So I had to learn how to cook them. I make Hoppin John each New Year's with ham, celery, green peppers, onions and lots of paprika! We eat it with baked or fried ham and rice. Yummy!

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    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    Ah ha! I wondered how that tradition evolved. Very interesting! Thanks for educating us, Ditter!
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Super Member QuiltingNinaSue's Avatar
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    Enjoyed all the stories and traditions; we too eat our black eyed peas and greens on New Year Day. It took me awhile to discover how to cook the black eyed peas; I drain them from the can and add chicken broth to warm them up. Then as I cut up the crisp bacon for the greens, I add some to the black eyed peas. May everyone have a good year.

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    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I had a very good friend from Tennesee who served black eyed peas. Wasn't good luck for her, she died 3-15-12.
    We cooked black beans, ham and cornbread New Years Day, just by luck we decided to cook them, no matter what day it was. I don't care much for traditions and really don't have any.
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    Super Member Patchesnposies's Avatar
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    Ironically, I am making our New Years Black Eyed Pea fritters even as I read this thread. lol

    We eat a lot of BYP soups.....but I have found this simple fritter recipe to be a real hit with my family. Served with a dipping or meat sauce it is yummy!

    Black Eyed Pea Fritters

    For the Fritters:

    1 cup dry black-eye peas (or two cups cooked/canned black-eye peas)
    1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (if using dry beans)
    1/2 cup minced onion
    1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    6-8 tablespoons water
    Lard

    Step 1: Set the dry beans and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl with enough water to cover them by a 3-4 inches. Let the peas soak for 12 -24 hours. Remove any floating “skins” or debris. Drain the peas and rinse.

    Step 2: Put the rinsed black-eye peas, onions and cayenne pepper in a high quality/powerful food processor or a high quality/powerful blender. Add the salt and 6 tablespoons of water and mix until well-blended. The batter should drip slowly off a spoon. If it is too thick — add up to 2 tablespoons more water until the right consistency is achieved.

    Fry in lard or other oil of your choice until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels and salt. Serve with sauce of your choice or float in soup or chili.
    Do not worry about the past, for it is history,
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    Member PensyDutch's Avatar
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    Like you, I never heard of black-eyed peas and turnip greens being eaten on New Years Day. Having been born and raised in Lancaster County, Pa., I have never celebrated the New Year without having sauerkraut and pork with mashed potatoes. To this day, I continue to make it. I was always told it was "to bring good luck through the new year". As a youngster, I was taught how to make the sauerkraut. We used large crocks, filled them with layers of shredded cabbage and salt, and placed them in the dark cellar. We learned about the fermenting process and looked forward to that wonderful meal.
    Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.

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    Super Member sak658's Avatar
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    Oh I had the amazing meal for New Years..our family tradition..Ranch Style(brand name) in the can black eyed peas...thick pork chops with 1 Pkg Liptons onion mix, 1 can of golden mushroom soup, and 3/4 can of water all put in the crock pot...brown the pork chops a little before putting in crock pot...fried cabbage..and mashed potatoes...and homemade coconut pie...have enough leftovers for today...all was so good...oh forgot the hot biscuits..

  22. #22
    Super Member nhnative's Avatar
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    Thanks for the real story. I'm from NH and don't know anything about black eyed peas. It isn't something we eat there.

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    thanks, ditter, enjoyed this thread about the mighty black eye pea! every year begins with black eye pea & cornbread dinner for us. got a kick out of lovestoquilt's mother in laws throwing one pea a month for good luck!

  24. #24
    Super Member quiltjoey's Avatar
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    I was born in Georgia. My Mom died at age 91 a few years ago. We always had black-eyed peas, collards or turnips, ham of some kind, and cornbread for New Years Day. She said the black-eyed peas represented coin money, collards/turnips were paper money, and ham to be thankful to have meat to eat. She grew up in the depression era and her mother died when she was 8 years old.
    For New Year's Day I cooked black-eyed peas (local fresh-frozen from Publix), collards out of my husband's garden and roasted a chicken. The peas and collards were cooked with smoked ham bones. It is a tradition I remember since I can remember! MMMMMMMM, Good.

    I also learned to cook the pork and sauerkraut while we were stationed in Germany in the 60's and cook it occasionally at different times. Sear and brown the pork tenderloin or what ever type you choose. I use two jars of regular kraut and 1 jar of Barvarian type. Rinse it good because the kraut contains a lot of salt. Put the kraut in the crock pot cover with water, add the carmelized pork and cook all day, 5-6 hours. The pork just falls apart. Make a thickening out of flour or cornstarch to thicken the kraut and pork. Make mashed potatoes to serve with it. MMMMMMMM, good!
    My family loves it.

  25. #25
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    Thanks for this info! I grew up eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day, but no other time because I think they taste like dirt (much to my mother's dismay!). Now I know why we eat them - and it makes perfect sense since my family hales from the Carolinas, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri.

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