As the year draws to a close, many cultures around the world embrace unique traditions to welcome the new year with hopes of prosperity, luck, and good fortune. In the American South, one cherished culinary tradition involves serving black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year's Eve. Join us on a culinary journey through the history and cultural significance of this delicious and symbolic meal.
The roots of the black-eyed peas and collards tradition are deeply embedded in African American and Southern folklore. Enslaved Africans brought with them the culinary knowledge of cultivating these crops, and their tradition of eating black-eyed peas for good luck on New Year's Eve became a staple in Southern cuisine.
Black-Eyed Peas: Known for their coin-like appearance, black-eyed peas are believed to symbolize prosperity and wealth. By consuming these peas on New Year's Eve, you are inviting financial abundance into the coming year.
Collard Greens: Representing the color of money, collard greens are associated with economic prosperity. Including them in the New Year's Eve meal is thought to bring good fortune and financial success.
This culinary tradition is intertwined with the rich tapestry of Southern culture. The inclusion of these ingredients in New Year's Eve meals is a nod to the resilience and resourcefulness of African American communities. Over time, the tradition has evolved, incorporating various recipes and culinary techniques that celebrate the diverse flavors of the region.
While the basic components—black-eyed peas and collard greens—remain consistent, the preparation methods and accompanying dishes can vary. From Hoppin' John to collard greens simmered with smoked ham hocks, each family may have its own cherished recipe passed down through generations. For vegan households, these are very easily made with simple seasonings without the need to add suffering to your meal.
Here's a recipe to season those cruelty-free black-eyed peas and collars that will hit the spot!
Soulful Spice Blend Ingredients:
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
Mix and Blend: In a bowl, combine all the ingredients thoroughly. Use a whisk or spoon to ensure an even distribution of spices.
Adjust to Taste: Feel free to adjust the spice levels according to your preference. If you prefer a milder blend, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper.
Store: Transfer the spice blend to an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry place. This blend can be prepared in advance and used for multiple meals.
Black-Eyed Peas: Add a generous sprinkle of the Soulful Southern Spice Blend to your black-eyed peas while simmering for a burst of flavor.
Collard Greens: Season your collard greens with this spice blend during the cooking process to infuse them with a soulful and savory taste.
Additional Dishes: This versatile spice blend can also be used to season other dishes, from roasted vegetables to grains, enhancing the overall flavor profile of your New Year's Eve feast.
As you prepare to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new, consider embracing the tradition of black-eyed peas and collard greens. Beyond the delicious flavors, this culinary custom connects us to the rich history of Southern culture, offering a taste of prosperity and the promise of a brighter year ahead. Whether you're continuing a long-standing family tradition or starting a new one, may your New Year's Eve be filled with joy, abundance, and the warmth of shared meals.
Blessings and Prosperity
Rev. Renee Sosanna Olson
Spiritualist & Witch
Torchbearer & Keybearer to the Covenant of Hekate
Founder of the Sanctuary of Hecate Brimo