Ring in the New Year with this Lucky Recipe from a Liberty County Native
The South is known for many things from our friendly personalities to our heavy accents and maybe most importantly our food! What you may not know is how traditional most Southern families are – so holidays mean a lot to us. Of course, it wouldn’t be a true Southern holiday without food and a lot of it! But we take it a step further and eat very specific foods on New Year’s Day that are meant to bless us in the upcoming year.
Now, you might be wondering just what that means – foods that bless us. In addition to being traditional, us Southerners tend to be a bit superstitious. We all grew up hearing stories about how certain foods bring blessing and luck. And what better time of year to eat as many of those foods than New Year’s Day?
New Year’s Day menus will consist of ham, black eyed peas, rice, collard greens and cornbread. Now those are your basics and does not include nearly all the food you will find on a Southern table for this holiday. You’re also likely to find deviled eggs, biscuits, mac ‘n cheese, mashed potatoes, and of course desserts! But those are just delicious additions to our luck inducing foods.
Each of the foods have different reasons for being on the menu but most are related to money. Pork for instance is considered a sign of prosperity so a big baked ham is an easy Southern food to fill that role. Peas are considered to represent coins and rice is meant for wealth so a classic staple of black eyed peas and rice are a must! Greens represent money but specifically folding money so be sure to grab an extra scoop of those! The golden yellow color of cornbread is said to symbolize gold but also is a must have when eating black-eyed peas and rice.
In honor of our superstitious New Year’s Day menu, we thought sharing a recipe for collard greens would help spread the wealth to you and your family. Enjoy!!
Mam Maw’s Collard Greens
2 bunches collard greens
Seasoned Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
¾ cup of white sugar
Fatback (or some type of smoked meat)
In a large soup pot fill it about ¾ of the way full with water and place on the stove. Slice the fatback (or smoked meat) into chunks and put it in the water with the sugar. Allow the water to come to a boil and boil for about 20-30 minutes. While this is happening wash your greens thoroughly in cool water. Remove the greens from the stems and tear or cut them into bite sized pieces. Place the greens in the boiling water and reduce heat to about half and cover (they should still boil gently, not a rolling bowl). Stir occasionally over the next 2 hours to make sure that the greens on top are also getting submerged. After 2 hours try the greens for tenderness & overall flavor (chef’s prerogative, right?) and add salt/pepper to taste.