According to tradition, New Year’s Day supper will bring you fortune in the year to come. Everyone will be eating some type of pork, collard green, black eyed peas or Hoppin’ John, and cornbread. It’s tradition, but how did it start? Well back in the days of that unfortunate war between the states, or civil war, Union troops swept through the south. The Union troops took livestock and crops to feed their troops. What the union troops left for southerners was peas and greens that they didn’t consider good eats for people. Well they became staples to keep families from starving during those times. The New Year’s tradition was born, a celebration dinner of those items that got folks through the difficult time. Forevermore to be regarded as a symbol of good luck.
The greens eaten represent wealth as they are flat and green like paper money. Typical greens served by southerners on New Years can be collard greens, cabbage, mustard greens, or turnip greens. Which ever you choose they are cooked slow and seasoned with ham hock.
Pork represents the hope of prosperity and bountiful harvest during the upcoming year. Typically a baked ham is served but some prefer pork chops, hog jowl, or pork roast.