Good Luck for the New Year

I am never able to decide whether to go out on New Year’s Eve until about 7pm that night.  As much as I love to get dressed up, go gallivanting, drink a fancy drink, do a little dancing, the idea of forcing myself out with 10,000 of my new BFFs on a cold Chicago night just to be able to say I rang in the new year doing something other than watching Anderson Cooper doesn’t really thrill me.   I mean, who actually remembers what they were doing on NYE six months later unless something dramatic happened like a proposal or a really long walk of shame the next morning?  But then I start thinking of the possibilities, the anticipation, the Champagne and my resolve starts to weaken.  Last year, it was too cold, so it was all about AC360; this year there’s an early flight to Mexico tomorrow and packing to be done.  But there’s also 7 more hours before I have to decide….

So, it’s 12:53pm on New Year’s Eve day and I have no idea where I will be when the clock strikes midnight.  But I do know what I will have eaten, because there is really only one thing you can do to ensure that luck will follow you into the next year.  In the Caribbean, it’s a must–regardless of your plans, your health, the little dress you need to fit into–that you eat black-eyed peas and rice on New Year’s Eve.  The peas bring you luck and the rice means wealth.  There’s usually pork, too, for abundance, but the peas are the essential part, because without luck how can the rest fall into place?  Every year I ask what would happen if I didn’t eat my portion of rice and peas and every year I’m met with “do you really want to find out?” 

So, before I head out to wherever I will say goodbye to 2008, I will find myself at my mother’s house, eating for luck and wealth and abundance.   And really, ending one year with food and beginning another assured of good fortune is all I can ask for….  Happy New Year!

Black-Eyed Peas and Rice

Ø       1/4 cup dried black-eyed peas per person

Ø       Sprinkle of dried thyme

Ø       Smoked ham hocks or pieces of bacon to flavor 

Ø       Salt and pepper according to taste (note that the ham hocks or bacon will add salt, so adjust your seasoning depending on whether you are using the pork)


Soak the peas overnight. If you can’t soak overnight, you can just cook them directly, but they’ll take longer to cook and won’t hold their firmness.  Place all the ingredients above in large pot.  Cover with water approximately 2 inches above ingredients.  Cook until peas become tender over low-medium heat. Remove from stove and serve.


If adding rice: follow cooking instructions on rice package. As water boils in rice pot, add the peas and all other ingredients. Remove from stove when rice is cooked.


3 Responses to Good Luck for the New Year

  1. joy olivia says:

    don’t tell mry. i should be working on friday’s blog entry for the magazine, but instead i am printing your recipe cos i’m gonna try it out tomorrow.

    happy new year, chica!!!

  2. pestlemortar says:

    Yippee! I hope it works for you (both on the stove and in 2009!). See you soon!

  3. Bon voyage and all good things in 2009, Heather! Kiss the surf for me…and don’t evah miss your portion of black eyed peas.

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