Friday, January 1, 2016

Grandma and Black Eyes Peas

It's been a southern tradition to eat black eyed peas to ring in the new year. If we weren't together on new years day my mom would always ask,

 "Have you had your black eyes peas yet? It's suppose to bring prosperity,"

"Yes, mom," I answered.  I really don't believe in luck but God's grace, however it is interesting how traditions get started.    It turns out black eyed peas are suppose to look like coins.  During the Civil War in December of 1864 food was scarce but a common food to eat was  black eyed peas.  The peas came  to the south from West Africa brought on slave ships. Black eyed peas had been domesticated in Africa 5,000 years ago and made there way into the diet  all over the continent. Everywhere African slaves involuntarily arrived, black eyed peas followed.    Today peas are also eaten in Central America, Caribbean and Brazil.

 Peas are flavored with collard greens which symbolizes money in many cultures. They also bring good health with fiber, protein, calcium and Vitamin A.  Eat them with cornbread because they look like gold.    George Washington Carver encouraged people to plant black eyed peas because the plant adds nitrogen to the soil.  They are also drought tolerant and free of pests and disease.  My grandmother grew black eyed peas in her Oklahoma garden.  She loved to fry up bacon in a cast iron skillet and then listen to the black eyed peas sizzle in the pan.

My son Michael listens to his 94 year old grandma.  She has wise sayings and good cheer.   She says,
"Michael it's so good to  see you."  her eyes beam just seeing his smiling face and gentle voice.  Grandsons are God's gift to us. New Years is a time to remember traditions and give friendly hellos. Happy New Year Grandma Palmer.  

No comments: