Preparing for a Southern New Year’s tradition

posted on December 31, 2008 at 6:17 am
It is funny how you can live in a region for so long and be completely oblivious to its traditions. But I honestly had no idea Southerners eat black eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day until last year (ducking).  Every component of the meal is symbolic. The black-eyed peas are for good luck, the greens represent money and the ham hocks are for never going hungry. I got my first taste of the classic at David Sweeney’s Dynamic Dish last year and was floored by his veggie version. 
Dynamic Dish is still dynamic: 2
Sweeney’s New Year’s plate last year
Instead of stewing the greens, Sweeney did a quick saute in olive oil and added a touch of balsamic vinegar. The peas were perfectly cooked and full of flavor. While the sweet potato mash is not traditional, Sweeney’s simple preparation using quality ingredients was a revelation. The meal was so memorable, I have decided to make it at home this year. I plan on adding ham hocks to the peas since this is not the most vegetarian of households and will make the sweet potato mash since my local farm stand’s varieties have been so delicious lately. 
I am really looking forward to tomorrow’s lunch. Do you observe this tradition in your household? Have any tips to share with rest of us newbies? 
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One comment

  • Re: Preparing for a Southern New Year’s tradition
    posted by: Gigi · December 31, 2008  7:40 AM

    I’m from Southern California, and traditionally we have black eyed peas, some people do chitterlings too. And I think your supposed t burn your old straw broom.

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