It wasn't until I moved to Texas that I learned the delicious tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck and prosperity. Seeing as I like to celebrate everything with food, it was a tradition I adopted, oh, immediately.
The tradition is different depending on where you are or what you read. In some cases, I've heard that you have to eat the black eyed peas right after the clock strikes midnight; in others, any time on New Year's Day will suffice. For the best luck, you should aim to eat 365 peas, though I cannot claim to be nearly that precise. You can also eat greens (collards are the best) to represent paper money (the peas represent coins) and cornbread to represent gold.
Personally, I feel that there is one excellent way to eat your black eyed peas, and that is to make them delicious. This year, I decided to go with a vegan Hoppin' John recipe, which I found on the Whole Foods website. It was really easy to make and smelled delicious on the stove, but it was - unfortunately - a little bland. I made a few changes, and will make a few more next time I need some luck and money (AKA every.single.day). Overall, though, the dish was pretty good - warm and filling, and full of black eyed peas and collard greens - and was even better when we crumbled skilled cornbread on top.
Vegan Hoppin' John
(adapted from Whole Foods but with a few changes to kick the flavor up a notch)
You will need:
2 14 oz cans black eyed peas
7 cups of vegetable broth
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup uncooked brown rice
7 strips of tempeh bacon
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped collard greens
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Combine vegetable broth, black eyed peas, onion, and thyme in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Add rice, tempeh bacon, peppers, chili powder, collard greens, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with hunks of skillet cornbread from Veganomicon, which is the greatest cookbook ever. Get ready to enjoy good luck and lots of money in the new year. Power of positive thinking, y'all.