Black-eyed peas and collard greens12.31.09

World's Smallest Bite“Well, what should we do for our first produce challenge?” I asked my son, as he stared at the television. His head slowly rotated toward me, eyes panicked.

“I don’t like anything,” he stated.

“Yet, we’re doing this anyway, so what’s it going to be?” I waggled my eyebrows at him.

“I don’t care. You pick.”

FINE. I have picketh-ed. We are starting off the New Year** with black-eyed peas and collard greens.

Black-eyed peas are served on New Year’s Day in a traditional dish called Hoppin’ John in the southern states.
Linda Stradley at What’s Cooking America explains:

Hoppin’ John is a rich bean dish made of black-eyed peas simmered with spicy sausages, ham hocks, or fat pork, rice, and tomato sauce. This African-American dish is traditionally a high point of New Year’s Day, when a shiny dime is often buried among the black-eyed peas before serving. whoever get the coin in his or her portion is assured good luck throughout the year. For maximum good luck in the new year, the first thing that should be eaten on New year’s Day is Hoppin’ John. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, many southern families toast each other with Champagne and a bowl of Hoppin’ John. If it is served with collard greens you might, or might not, get rich during the coming year.

Here’s where I admit that I’ve never actually tried collard greens, and I’m not the hugest fan of black-eyed peas. But I’m a fan of fun traditions, so we’re going to give it a go in a two-fer extravaganza of new foods. Plus, this is like the culinary equivalent of buying a few lottery tickets.

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