Black Eyed Tradition

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Having grown up in a traditional southern family, I have grown up spreading butter on mostly everything that I eat, saying y’all and listening to my mom emphasize different syllables , and deep frying everything. Unhealthy, I am aware of but the deliciousness, I can taste. Christmas and New Year’s give my parents even more the reason to bake and cook buttery delicacies. After my family overcomes the feeling of being full for six days, on New Year’s Day it is a tradition to eat Hoppin’ John, it is filled with black eyed peas, ham pieces, peppers, and you cannot forget the buttery corn bread accompanying it.

The smell of peppers simmering on the stove top is an unfamiliar yet comfortable smell on every January 1st. It has become symbolic in my family; no matter what happens during the year we will always spend holidays together and shamelessly indulge in our meals. From a young age, I have been taught that the more peas I eat, the more luck I will receive in the New Year, for every pea digested is one act of luck that I will receive. I have not formed an opinion on the pea theory but I get a kick out of watching my younger brother load up a bowl to ladle in the peas, “yeah, it’s going to be a good year”.

Although I love my family’s Christmas tradition, I have more fun with the New Year’s meal, it is as if we are eating our new start, the peppers are the spicy things throughout the year, like the drama, the ham is the sweet stuff, the onions are the small things that sadden us, and finally the white rice is the fluffy stuff that makes us feel good and full in our lives.

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