Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Welcome to 2011!

Beans, Greens, Ham Hocks, Spices, and Crusty Harvest Bread

New Year's Feast


Happy New Year to you! 

Yes, like so many others, I partook of a new year traditon by having black eyed peas, ham hocks, and greens.  Okay, I know, I know.  This isn’t what everyone’s tradition is, but it’s mine.  I tried the Hopping John with the rice and beans and it really turned out awful – major suckage, you might say.  But I do have the pork and the beans in there and instead of having cabbage I have greens.  And because I seem to be out of corn meal (oh the horror!), I am having a wonderful harvest grain bread instead of corn bread. 

A friend of mine, Monica (Hi Monica!) asked on Facebook yesterday where the traditions of eating pork and cabbage, or pork and beans, or some other combination came from and what they mean.  I know I’ve read the explanation at some point but there are likely to be as many explanations as there are traditions.  So, I’ve decided to make up my own explanation.  Yeah, like you didn’t see that coming!

So anyway, I thought about it and of course the greens are in the hope that the new year brings me lots of green so I can continue to feed the critters and pay the bills.  But what’s up with the pork?  And the beans?  Hmm, I guess it could be indicitive that I hope I have enough gas to keep me running about and to keep my car warm but well, okay, that’s not what I want my tradition to be about.  So here is what I’ve decided the history behind MY tradition will be:

The ham hocks are from the lowest part of the hog and is a part that’s overlooked and probably pitched out by some.  The beans are warm, nourishing, and filling.  The greens are simplicity at its finest.  Some people might call them weeds and bypass them but they’re part of the bounty that the earth gives us.  And they’re the color of money (okay, some habits die hard).  With this new year’s day meal I’m reminding myself that it’s the simple things that are going to make me happy and comfort me most in the year ahead.  I don’t need the newest or best or brightest new toy that comes out to make me happy; that happiness would be fleeting and I’d be waiting for the next toy.  All I really need are the warm comforts of home and the simple pleasures of family and friends and the bounty that I can find outdoors and in nature.  And if you know me you won’t be surprised that I added a healthy dose of hot sauce to my meal because even the simple life needs spice!  So that’s what my tradition is all about.

Oh yeah, I AM hoping for some green too!  And for those of you who are cringing about that old cutting board – it’s just a photo prop.  But I like it so I keep it around, mostly hanging on my wall waiting to be used for a photo.

Happy new year to you all.  I’m hoping the year brings you the comforts that make you happy.


Read Full Post »