• Tonya Jewel Blessing

Black Eyed Peas


It is an Appalachian tradition to eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day. A mountain folk belief claims that the beans resemble a coin and to partake of what is also known as goat peas brings good luck and wealth for the new year.

“The idea that black eyed peas are lucky dates back to the Civil War. Northern troops considered the peas to be suitable only for animals, so they were one of the few edible things left behind by raiding soldiers. The "lucky" peas made their way to Southern tables, especially those of Southern slaves who celebrated emancipation as ordered by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863.” (Leada Gore)

Some homestyle cooks even include a coin while preparing the beans. Whoever gets the coin in his or her heavily seasoned bowl of black-eyed peas and hearty broth will receive extra money in the months to come.

When the peas are first shelled, they are green in color. With exposure to light, the beans turn white or ivory. Their eyes can be a variety of colors: black, brown, red, or pink.

God created such amazing and unique things for people to eat. He also gave wisdom to mankind on how to plant, harvest, and cook His bounty. Because black eyed peas are legumes, they add nitrogen to the soil and have high nutritional value.

Black-eyed peas are ready to harvest when they rattle in their shells. They are then dried for storage. Before cooking the peas are soaked in water to soften the shells. Spices, spinach, and pork fat are often used in just the right measure to produce something wonderful.

Life can be complicated for people and peas. I get rattled from time to time. There are seasons where I feel like I’ve sat on shelf gathering dust. I’ve also felt, on a few occasions, like I’ve been plunged into water, and I definitely need others to add spice and flavor to my life.

Happy New Year! I hope that 2020 is amazing!


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