According to tradition, New Year’s Day supper will bring you fortune in the year to come. Everyone in the South will be eating some type of pork, collard greens or cabbage, 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.
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.
“Southern food is all about the soul and history behind the food, which was developed quite simply, with what was readily available. Corn became grits and cornbread, greens grew plentifully such as cabbage and collards, and pigs were easy to raise and could be prepared a number of ways from pit roasted, to shredded, and even salted and smoked as hams (curing meat was a way to preserve it). Chickens were usually scratching in someone’s back yard and could easily be fried or stewed for chicken and dumplings. Southern food is comfort food, it wraps itself around you, and brings back memories of sitting on a front porch shelling peas with your grandmother, looking forward to whatever pot of goodness she was going to prepare.” ~ Mary Marshall