Sunday, December 29, 2013
New Year's Day Hog Jowl
One of our vendors gifted all of us with a bag of dried black-eyed peas and a chunk of hog jowl to cook in the peas. I can guarantee that I will be cooking that up for all who come to eat with us on Wednesday. Mike shared that his understanding of the tradition dates back to the civil war. He said the South was so poor that the only things they had to sustain themselves through the hard times were dried peas and the scraps off the pig.
There's an old belief that the bigger the pig you eat on New Year's Day, the fatter your wallet will be. Who am I to tempt fate? In the poor South, it was believed that a pig represented health and wealth. One pig could sustain a family through the hard winter months. Another fact is that a pig cannot turn his head around without turning his whole body around...so the pig is forward looking, possibly looking forward to a prosperous year.
During the war, black-eyed peas were considered animal food and not worthy of the Union troops. Therefore there was plenty of it. It is said that eating such a humble food on New Year's day will lead to being blessed.
The cabbage, collards or turnip greens represent your "green or folding money." It is said each bite of greens represents $1000 towards the upcoming year. Again, who am I to tempt fate?
Cornbread represents your pocket money because of the gold color of the bread.
About a week before the New Year, Andy hits the store and starts buying up several pounds of hog jowl. We always have it for breakfast at least once before the big day. We limit it because we know our blood pressure probably shoots sky high.
This batch was served up with biscuits, fried eggs and molasses. On New Year's Day, we will be serving it with black-eyed peas, cabbage and cornbread.