I’ve never been much for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Though I love a glass of champagne as much (or more) as the next guy, it’s really New Year’s Day that I look forward to. Without the blurry haze from a late night out, I can wake up refreshed, remembering the traditions of growing up in North Carolina where the smell of collard greens on the stove filled the air on the first morning of every New Year.
The simmering aroma of greens in one pot and their black-eyed pea companion in another was a nice reminder that a New Year was upon us – a time to think of the possibilities ahead and take stock of dreams for the future.
In my childhood home, the tradition of eating these delicious and good-for-you basics on January 1 had a time-honored meaning. Against the backdrop of my grandfather’s farm, the combination of the two foods represented a wish for good health and prosperity in the New Year.
Forgetting to eat this meal would virtually guarantee bad luck over the next 12 months! So, to avoid that fate, my Mom often invited friends and family over or sent portions of the meal to whomever was unable to cook that day. It was a way to spread a little good fortune. And it was healthy. And it was cheap.
On this eve of 2010, I can’t think of a better way to welcome the New Year and put behind us a year that has been so challenging financially for so many. With a simple invitation and a quick recipe for a soup that combines the traditional foods, I’ve decided to start the year off right by sharing it with some friends.
Here’s to a healthy and prosperous New Year!