How was your New Year’s Day? The cold I’d been fighting for a week finally won over the jillions of vitamins I’d taken, so I was not in a party frame of mind. I did watch a couple of the bowl games, in between napping, and was happy that Michigan State won the Cottonbowl. I know as a naturalized Texan, I should support a Texas team, but Michigan State has always had my heart.
I also watched Oregon beat Florida State, and that was also a good game. However, I thought the lime green uniforms the Oregon players wore were ugly as sin.
In between naps, I also logged on to Facebook to send out Holiday greetings, and it was interesting to see the different traditional meals that are purported to bring good luck. Here in Texas the good luck meal includes black-eyed peas, and that tradition spreads across the South. My Scandinavian friends in South Dakota eat pickled herring, and folks of Italian descent eat lentils.
I wondered about the significance of these foods, as did Sara Bir, a contributor for Good Eats. She researched the True Story of Traditional New Year’s Lucky Foods, and her article is very interesting. She explores all the legends and myths surrounding the “lucky” foods, and the article is well worth a read. Supposedly the choices of food are supposed to represent money, and it is monetary good luck that we are most eager for.
In particular, I liked what she said about black-eyed peas, “When you find a coin—any coin—that looks like a black-eyed pea, please call me.”
She then goes on to explain that the peas, like most of the other good-luck foods, are staples of the households that serve them, and not just on New Year’s Day.
Sara finishes her article with, “Luck is something humans have no influence over, but the solace we take in cultural and culinary identity is. These rituals of eating special foods remind us who we are, where we’ve been, and the ways we hope to thrive.”
I agree. While it is fun to play along with the good luck tradition, eating black-eyed peas has never affected the good and the bad of the following year. In fact, the first year that I insisted we eat black-eyed peas – I liked them but my husband and kids did not – we had the worst luck the following year. He told me that a black-eyed pea was never to darken our door again.
So what did you eat for good luck yesterday?