New Year’s Eve was always a big celebration when I was growing up. My set of honorary parents hosted a huge party every year at their house way out in the sticks. There where at least 100 people there with all of their kids and teenagers tagging along. Everyone would come with their signature dish and a 6-pack of beer in their hand. It was always the same group of people. The ones we would party with during the summer at the bi-weekly volleyball parties or at the annual Halloween bash, but the New Year’s Eve party was the season closer, the grand finale, the best party of the year.
As a kid, the coolest part was actually getting to stay up with the adults all the way to midnight. We would all fight sleepyness with large quantities of Kool-Aid and chocolate chip cookies. Of course as a teenager, the coolest part was sneaking a bottle or two of liquor from the enormous cocktail table and running down to the creek with our friends and pretending to be adults. We always had so much fun at those parties. I remember one year there was a man who came who was a professional storyteller. He was also very good looking. He took all of the kids outside in the new Blue Moon and told us a spooky story while it was snowing outside. I was totally enamored.
The party would change a little every year. You may see some new people, or miss some old faces, but there was always laughter, there was always dancing, everyone always sang Auld Lang Syne, and everybody ate black eye peas. There was always an enormous pot on the stove. The black enamel stockpot variety that must have held enough black-eye peas for the whole county. And somewhere in that vast cauldron was a dime. A single dime. A dime that would bring the person who was fortunate enough to scoop up the coin good luck for the whole year. Every year I ate as many black-eye peas as I could, carefully chewing each bite, hoping to find that shiny coin stuck between my teeth. It never did happen in all those years. The luck was passed on to someone else.
It’s been well over a decade since I have seen all of those people, and so much has changed since the days of my adolescence. But some things never change for me at the beginning of every New Year. I always laugh, I always dance, I always sing Auld Lang Syne, and I always dig for the dime in my bowl of black-eye peas.
Happy New Year.
Black Eye Peas
1 bag of dry black eye peas
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T dry rosemary
1 hunk of country ham
salt and pepper
Soak peas overnight or use the quick soak method. Drain.
In a cast iron skillet heat the oil over medium ihgh heat and saute onions, garlic and country ham until onion is transparent. Add rosemary and a little salt and pepper. Cook 30 more seconds.
Stir in peas then add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until peas are soft and tender. 2-3 hours.
Drop a dime in the pot for good luck and serve to all of your friends and family on New Year’s Day.
Black Eye Peas
- 1 bag of dry black eye peas
- 1 T oil
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 T dry rosemary
- 1 hunk of country ham
- salt and pepper
- Soak peas overnight or use the quick soak method. Drain.
- In a cast iron skillet heat the oil over medium ihgh heat and saute onions, garlic and country ham until onion is transparent. Add rosemary and a little salt and pepper. Cook 30 more seconds.
- Stir in peas then add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until peas are soft and tender. 2-3 hours.
- Drop a dime in the pot for good luck and serve to all of your friends and family on New Year's Day.