I can't imagine starting the New Year without blackeyed peas and cabbage, and I don't have to imagine doing that because the peas are simmering, and the cabbage will soon be sliced.
Blackeyed peas and cabbage (or other greens) is a tradition in the South. I'm told that it stems from the Civil War, where Union troops, foraging for supplies for their army, left the southern folks with not a lot left to eat. This rendition says that the Yankees considered field peas to be animal fodder, and they didn't have a taste for greens, so they left those behind.
Whatever the reason, that menu has become a southern staple. Peas for good luck, greens for money. Of course, you've got to have some pork on the plate, so I always save the bone from the Christmas ham, For continuity, and because it tastes so darned good. And cornbread. Always cornbread. A simple, humble meal that's become a tradition all over the South.
Milady and I were engaged on January 1, 2003. We went to a New Year's party, and I'm not sure just exactly when the question was popped, (either before or after the ball dropped), but we've always celebrated New Year's Day as our engagement. We don't do New Year's as a big family event, but simply invite close friends. Today we're expecting a couple who has shared New Years peas and cabbage with Milady for almost 30 years.
Happy New Year, everyone.