According to Southern superstition, eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day will bring you good luck and health through out the year. From dishes like Hoppin’ John to Texas Caviar, the traditions twist and turn depending on who you talk to. Some people cook a penny with their black-eyed peas, some say you must eat 365 peas to count for good luck each day, most say that it’s not just the peas but the whole dish that bring you luck. Whatever you do, don’t eat lobster, they move backwards and eating them on the 1st could lead to setbacks.
The black-eyed pea folklore dates back to the Civil War when Union soldiers raided the Confederate food supply, leaving only black-eyed peas and salted pork. They thought they were lucky to have been left those skimpy supplies, which helped them survive the winter.
Besides luck, black-eye peas (which are really beans not peas) are great for your health. Containing no cholesterol this legume is high in potassium, fiber and iron as well as a great source of protein. The beans are a low calorie, low fat whole food, which means you’ll be starting off those resolutions right! If you want to eat clean, grab a bag from the farmer’s market, but make sure to soak them the night before (I’ve made that mistake before) and pick from a number of healthy recipes to insure good luck and health in 2013!