A Traditional Southern New Year’s Meal
Living in the South, there are many New Year’s traditions I had never heard of, since I grew up in the Midwest. I remember my first New Year’s with my in-laws, and being amused by the things you had to have on New Year’s or the next year wouldn’t go well. I was amused simply because I had never heard of this and I am not a superstitious person. I didn’t realize at the time that this was a “thing” here in the South.
So traditionally here in the southern United States, you have certain things you are supposed to eat every New Year’s Day, but there’s also a couple things you aren’t supposed to eat…because they bring bad luck. You don’t want to curse the new year before it has even started.
What Southerners Eat for New Year’s Day
So according to tradition (superstition) you are supposed to eat a few things every New Year’s Day to bring about good luck and fortune for the year to come.
Peas or Beans
Peas or beans look a little bit like a coin, and represent wealth. The most common dish is Black-eyed Peas, but some families will have split peas, pinto beans, lentils or something else along those lines.
Greens aren’t too hard to figure out. They represent money, specifically “folding money” or dollar bills. For this, things like turnip greens, collards, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, or some other sort of “greens” are served.
So the story behind pork, is that because a pig “roots forward,” it means that going forward into the year will be fortunate. But you should never eat chicken on New Year’s because a chicken scratches backwards. You also aren’t supposed to eat lobster, since it swims backwards. (Does that include shrimp or crawfish?) That’s “bad luck.”
Of course, I quit eating pork some time ago, (Read: Why I Quit Eating Pork) but I still enjoy these recipes using turkey, chicken or beef.
Is that “bad luck?” Who cares? I don’t believe in superstitions anyways. But I do love good food!
Cornbread is the gold! Not only that, but you can’t hardly eat peas, beans or greens without cornbread. It just not done.
New Year's Day Menu Suggestions
This rich and tangy soup is filled with good veggies, including cabbage, leeks and more. The added crispy turkey bacon is a bonus for this slow cooker recipe.
This chunky soup is another great one to combine both the peas and sausage in one dish.
Seasoned with bacon and Andouille sausage, you will love the flavor packed into these beans! (I now use turkey bacon and chicken or beef Andouille sausage.)
Smoked Sausage & Black-Eyed Pea Soup
If you’re looking for some Black-eyed Peas, I can’t help you there, but check out my friend Brandi’s recipe.
One of my favorite ways to serve “greens” is this Brussels sprouts recipe.
My cornbread is the perfect cornbread if you ask me. It is moist and has just a touch of sweet.
Don’t Forget Dessert!
You can’t have a holiday meal and skip dessert. Here’s some of my favorite old-fashioned desserts to serve on New Year’s…or any occasion for that matter.
New Year's Day Desserts
Enjoy the rustic flavor of this Old-fashioned Blueberry Cornbread Cake with crumb topping. You will love this unusual dessert!
Enjoy these beautiful, fresh flavors together in this elegant Lemon & Blueberry Skillet cake, drizzle with lemon glaze.
I can’t think of any dessert that evokes memories of summers gone by more than this Blueberry Cobbler. Topped with some vanilla ice cream, this is everything good about summer, right there in your bowl. Of course New Year's is in the winter, so this is easily made with frozen blueberries.
Get this Cracker Barrel copycat recipe for a southern staple dessert – Double Chocolate Fudge Cola Cake.
Mississippi Mud Slow Cooker Cake is a rich brownie and chocolaty sauce cooked together in your slow cooker. A perfect dessert for your chocolate lovers.
Do YOU have any New Year’s traditions?
How ever you start your year off, I wish you a wonderful New Year filled with blessings!