It is a long standing tradition that black eyed peas are on the menu for New Year's Day. Here's a recipe shared from Po' Melvins restaurant a popular down home eatery in the Metroplex.
It is a long standing tradition that black eyed peas are on the menu
for New Year's Day. Cabbage or collared greens are also a favorite for
luck and according to folklore and represent money and prosperity.
According to "Southern Living" this auspicious New Year’s Day
tradition dates back to the Civil War, when Union troops pillaged the
land, leaving behind only black-eyed peas and greens as animal fodder.
Rich in nutrients, these were the humble foods that enabled
Southerners to survive. Details of stories differ, but each celebrates
a communion of family and friends bound by grateful hearts and renewed
hope for good things yet to come.
Black eyed peas are definitely a New Year's Day "good luck" tradition.
And for Mel LeMane, the Southern staple is something more. Black eyed
peas literally launched his family into the restaurant business, and
they’re the most requested side dish at Po’ Melvin’s, which serves up
Southern comfort fare from an unassuming strip mall space in Irving.
The story began in the early ‘80’s, when Mel’s dad, the original “Po
Melvin,” entered his original black eyed pea recipe in the State Fair
of Texas Cooking Competition. To his surprise, they won “Best in
Show.” Eventually, he would sell his black eyed peas to State Fair
attendees, first from a concession truck and then from a booth.
Customers encouraged Melvin to open a restaurant, and the rest is
history and now Po' Melvin's is one of the most popular down home
eateries in the Metroplex.
Today, the younger Mel continues to cook up the black eyed peas for
patrons who demand them regularly, not just on January 1. Here is the
recipe for the black eyed peas served up every day at Po' Melvins, and
some say they do live up to the slogan on the sign which is "soooo
good it'll make you wanna slap yo' mama."
1 lb. hickory smoked bacon, chopped
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
6 small cans of fresh shelled black eyed peas
3 cubes of beef bouillon
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and salt to taste (optional)
Sauté the bacon until brown and crisp. Add the green onions and sauté.
Add the black eyed peas and 2 to 3 cans of water, along with bouillon
cubes and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then lower the heat,
cover and let simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, enough to allow some of the
water to evaporate.
Taste and add salt if desired, and/or a dash of Worcestershire sauce or Tabasco.