Cook Up Some Good Luck with a Traditional New Year’s Day Meal

December 27, 2022

You may not be in to making New Year’s resolutions but what about that New Year’s Day meal.

In the South, to set yourself up for prosperity in the new year it’s all about what you eat on New Years Day. The meal to start your year off right should include collard greens, cornbread, black-eyed peas and pork. Black-eyed peas, pork and rice cooked together are commonly called Hoppin’ John.

According to the first recipes for Hoppin’ John appear in cookbooks as early as the 1840s, although the mixture of dried peas, rice and pork was made in the South long before then.

Here are the New Year’s Day classics and what they are said to represent:

  • Greens: Whether they’re collard, turnip or mustard, make sure you get a heaping serving of this iron-rich vegetable. The greens on your plate represent wealth.
  • Black-eyed peas: They represent health, wealth and peace in the new year. Many believe the swelling of the cooked bean symbolizes the increasing of good fortunes.
  • Cornbread: Who doesn’t love cornbread! As delicious as it is, the golden color is said to symbolize riches and prosperity.
  • Pork: Pork is said to bring prosperity and progress. This thought comes from the fact that pigs root ahead as they eat, as opposed to backward like chickens or turkeys.
  • Hog Jowls: On New Year’s Day, hog jowls (the cheek of the pig) are traditionally eaten in the South to ensure health, prosperity and progress.  They are used to season black-eyed peas or the greens.
  • Hoppin’ John: This rich dish combines black-eyed peas, rice, and pork and is a staple of the New Year in the Carolina Low Country and loved by many in the South. They are said to bring good health, wealth and luck.

Now that your mouth is watering, start the grocery list to cook up the classic New Year’s Day meal.